NZICF 2013: Markus Birdman – Love, Life and Death

Markus BirdmanI had only seen Markus do brief spots throughout the festival and what I saw I loved so I was eager to see this man strut his stuff for a full hour.  And am I glad I did as it was an absolute comedic treat!

Markus Birdman is 42 years old, a stroke survivor, a self-proclaimed obsessed hypochondriac, an atheist and an ex-goth.  This is only the tip of the iceberg; Love, Life and Death is a candid recounting, a memoir of sorts, of the things he has encountered and experienced in life plus a generous helping of jokes and funny anecdotes along the way.

Throughout the hour, laughter fills the room as we learn a myriad of things like his idea of the perfect death, the time he slapped a disabled child and how a first date got ruined by carrots.  Markus is the consummate raconteur – he holds our attention with ease and each and every story is perfectly structured with excellent comedic timing.

His material does have a controversial side so be prepared to be shocked and there will be some cringe-worthy moments too.  No topic is considered too taboo and nothing is too inappropriate for Markus to talk about in a room full of strangers but it is this brazen attitude that is part of his charm.

Love, Life and Death is an hour of constant hilarity with an uplifting ending that leaves you unexpectedly inspired.  Markus Birdman’s witty and sometimes crass style of comedy will thoroughly entertain and leave you gasping for breath.

The Whimsical Banana rates Love, Life & Death: 5/5 bananas!

Your last chance to catch Markus Birdman is TONIGHT at 7:15pm at The Classic Studio (click here for tickets) and/or at the final The Big Show at 8:45pm at The Comedy Chamber (click here for tickets).

NZICF 2013: Gordon Southern – The Kerfuffle

Gordon Southern

After a successful run at last year’s festival, Gordon Southern is back in New Zealand with his trusty sound effects box and unique brand of edutainment-style comedy.  The Kerfuffle is a delightful hour of rapid fire stand up that is an absolute joy to watch.

There is a whole lot that gets covered throughout the show.  Audience members are designated celebrity personas (with weird hobbies like taking photos of meat), he relentlessly pokes fun at British idiosyncrasies and we find out why he has forty avocados in his flat.  We also get treated to an impromptu Bollywood dance lesson and learn about the time he threw caution to the wind and faced off against a certain Prince dubbed “Captain Wales” (nudge, nudge, wink, wink).

His material is upbeat, engaging and wonderfully witty with impeccable comedic timing, particularly when he chooses to use his signature “that’s a fun fact!” audio insert.  He also recounts some genuinely heartwarming and compelling stories from his family life which he manages to fit in seamlessly without significantly affecting the energy of the set.

Gordon is undeniably a gifted entertainer and skilled performer which he unabashedly credits to him having a drama degree.  Drama degree or not, his charismatic disposition, boundless energy and animated storytelling will have you captivated from start to finish.  If you weren’t a fan coming in to the show, I daresay you would leave as one.

The Kerfuffle exudes feel good, is immensely entertaining and packs a comedic punch.  If you enjoy fun facts, jokes about the Royal Family, toy giraffes and just bloody good comedy (with the odd rap thrown in for good measure), you will thoroughly enjoy this show.

The Whimsical Banana rates The Kerfuffle: 5/5 bananas!

Gordon Southern is performing at The Classic Studio until May 11th – click here for tickets.

This review can also be found on Keeping Up With NZ.

UPDATE: Here is my Broadway Baby review of the same show which I saw again at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.

NZICF 2013: Elis James

Elis James

Elis James is not only a top notch comedian, he is the consummate storyteller.  And the reviews are all true – this lovely Welshman really is one of the most likeable comics around.

There is a lot to love and laugh about in this hour-long show.  Elis’ friendly persona coupled with his wonderfully animated style of storytelling make him an absolute joy to watch.  Over the course of the show, we are treated to a myriad of hilarious anecdotes from getting “song raped” to that one time he had a brief but eventful connection with One Directions’ Harry Styles.

Each tale is structured superbly and delivered flawlessly but what really takes it to the next level is the accompanying comical re-enactments and the odd song and dance which are slipped in at just the opportune moments in the narrative.  This performance element adds a whole new layer of comedy and entertainment to an already outstanding set.

As the show progresses, each story becomes increasingly funnier and more ludicrous that it’s almost too good to be true.  Yet Elis recounts them with such authenticity and conviction that you are completely captivated and buy in to what he is telling you – the mark of an exceptional raconteur.

I cannot recommend this show enough – the material is delightfully witty, highly engaging and funny as hell.  Ellis makes being a stand up comedian absolutely effortless.  Another fantastic and super talented up-and-comer everybody should have their eyes on.

The Whimsical Banana rates Elis James: 5/5 bananas!

Elis James will be performing at The Classic Studio until May 11th (not the 5th).  For tickets, click here.

Due to popular demand, Elis has added an extra show on Saturday May 11th at 5:30pm!