Tag Archives: NZICF 2017

NZICF | Frenchy Unleashed

Frenchy’s show can be describe in two words: pure evil.
Having followed his presence online for a while I was somewhat prepared for a show of filthy, lewd and most likely offensive jokes. I wasn’t disappointed.
The lanky Australian bounded onstage at the Q Theatre and launched straight into it. Content ranged from religion and sex fails to Tinder stories and the Kardashians. Highlights included two surprisingly good raps and one severe telling-off of a persistent talker. He also played a couple of hilarious tunes on the guitar, which was a good way of breaking things up.
The man’s humour is gnarly, in the best way. He’s got a rough wit that causes the odd wince but gets the hearty laughs rolling in nonetheless. The show was very well executed, running smoothly while still allowing time for audience interaction, at which Frenchy excels. If you don’t mind excessive amounts of swearing, graphic sexual material and some semi-offensive jokes, Frenchy is definitely worth a watch.
**** 4/5 stars
FRENCHY performed in Auckland as part of the 2017 NZ International Comedy Festival.  Catch him throughout the country on the following dates:
  • May 20 – Theatre Royal, Nelson
  • May 21 – Civic Theatre, Invercargill
  • May 22 – Glenroy Auditorium, Dunedin
  • May 23 – Aurora Centre, Christchurch
  • May 24 – Clarence Street, Hamilton
  • May 26 – The Mayfair, New Plymouth
  • May 27 – Opera House, Wellington
Find out more here.

NZICF 17 | Justine Smith – An Hour Roughly

Justine Smith is probably best described as a raconteuse.

The chill of an Auckland Autumn night became a distant memory as we packed into Vault at Q Theatre for an hour of hair-raising tales and no-holds-barred humour, spiced with frequent colourful language and served with lashings of opinionated style. The show flies by and feels like a fraction of a night out with an entertaining, lively new best friend.

Loosely based around the theme of Nature and Nurture, Justine’s show opens with a musical introduction to her family – in fact, family is a recurring theme throughout the evening, as she explores the story of her adoption in sometimes brutally honest style.

Justine’s time spent travelling in her twenties and, later, working in the hospitality industry have sharpened her banter like none other. Life, love, travel, work, men and children – no subject is safe from her hilariously frank observations and sharp-tongued opinions.

Go and see her if you like your stories lurid and your laughs frequent – just maybe don’t ask her about the third time she got arrested… Get tickets HERE.

3/5 Stars

JUSTINE SMITH performs at Vault at Q Theatre until Saturday May 20th as part of the 2017 NZ International Comedy Festival from 27 April – 21 May. For the full line-up of shows in the Festival head to the Comedy Fest website!

NZICF 17| Hal Cruttenden – Straight Outta Cruttenden

Last night Hal Cruttenden made a strong initial impression entering stone-faced to NWA – his nod to the show’s title. He then opened his mouth, broke the spell, and treated the audience to some very British humor.

Interestingly, the naming of the show can be credited to Hal’s recent re-immersion to hip hop music after a hiatus of a few decades; In fact my favourite aspects of the show were perhaps his musings on age and the passage of time. Shakespeare talks about the 7 stages of man; He cleverly condensed it to about 3.

Hal also unabashedly interacted with the audience, ribbing them mercilessly but, for the most part in a non-combative tone (though maybe the biggest laugh of the night came when, on learning about the presence of psychiatrists in his audience, Hal ordered them to “LEAVE NOW”).

The choice of material, and his intelligent commentary on most of it were all fantastic, however his greatest strength is that he seems truly relatible. Scattered with the occasional segue and rant, Hal transitioned smoothly from Brexit to the folly of youth to parenting teenagers to his own upbringing and relationships – the night studded with many a groan or laugh of recognition from the audience. He is clearly intelligent, and clearly concerned with the state of the world – that said, the fact he left America well alone was actually rather refreshing (perhaps it provides too much easy material). He is a comedian who certainly knows how to read the audience and their responses.

The evening passed quickly and energetically, and I can’t recommend you go see him enough, as he really is a true comedic professional.

Get tickets to experience Hal Cruttenden in all of his glory HERE.

4/5 Stars

HAL CRUTTENDEN performs at The Classic until Saturday May 20th as part of the 2017 NZ International Comedy Festival from 27 April – 21 May. For the full line-up of shows in the Festival head to the Comedy Fest website!


NZICF 17 | Guy Williams – Why Am I Like This?

This year at the NZ International Comedy Festival, Guy Williams managed to impress with a lively (albeit slightly shouty) sell-out show at the Basement Theatre with self-deprecating ease.

The Basement provided a comfortable setting for Williams’ featured show, engaging the audience seamlessly, and keeping the atmosphere buoyant with a spirited performance. ‘Why Am I Like This?’ begins confidently, with him keeping his material relevant and current throughout.

Williams’ undeniable talent for political heckling remains, and we are updated in regards to his recent antics on social media – blessed. He communicates raw comical honestly which is refreshing when compared to the rehearsed-mood sometimes encountered in the current comedy scene. Although some of the show feels a little rehearsed with music cues and whatnot, he handles improv with ease (twice his performance was interrupted by late-comers, which is possibly not a great thing to happen to the late-comer, but can really work to a comedians advantage).

I have to recommend Guy Williams’ show – go and see him while you can readily acquire tickets; His reach and audience appeal continue to grow, as does his obvious comfort on a larger visible public platform. Also he treats us to more texts from his Mum. Thumbs up.

4/5 Stars   Get tickets for his show HERE.

GUY WILLIAMS performs at the Basement Theatre; His last show Sun 7 May as part of the 2017 NZ International Comedy Festival from 27 April – 21 May. For the full line-up of shows in the Festival head to the Comedy Fest website!

NZICF 17 | Rich Wilson – Metamorphosis

Tuesday.  My least favourite day of the week and the bitter cold and icy winds did little to lighten my mood …   But behold my saving grace to which thus came!  In the form of an utterly charming, jolly and well-nourished 😉  (insert LOL here) South-Londoner last evening, at The Classic.

Upstairs in an intimate and somewhat subdued studio, comedian Rich Wilson regaled the audience with entertaining stories of childhood, innocence lost and a horrifying situation, of finding oneself inadvertently caught amidst their parents sexual repertoire’.

We impressionable comedy devotees, were indulged with other such amusing narrative, that digressed from the ‘funny men’ that circled the local playground, to the questionable antics of some most renowned media figures and world-leaders.  Disturbing awareness of sex education, unexpected parenthood and inevitable breakdown of relationships, all apace to the cool sounds of the Happy Mondays, really added believability to the journey through time …

Being a school-night, the crowd was small, but nonetheless, ridiculously raucous and spirited, so much so, that the whole experience felt like an inappropriate, hysterically lewd, yet generally light-hearted conversation amongst a close group of friends, a welcoming ‘metamorphosis’ from the usual stand-up scenario.

Charismatic and completely absurd, Rich Wilson gave us an experience that was both entertaining and to a degree, thought-provoking, with such candid veraciousness, in the words of our fellow millennials,  Rich is ‘a totally legit dude’.

A must-see act of this year’s NZ International Comedy Festival if you are looking for stand-up that is unfeigned and inclusive, interactive and literally outside-the-box !  Rich Wilson is showing from now until Saturday 6th May @ The Classic Studio.

4.5 Stars!


NZICF 17 | 5 Star Comedy Preview

What do you get when you blend a Scotsman, a female raconteur and a smattering of excitable yet cynical Brits and a pint-sized Fin … ?

A great start to the opening of the NZ International Comedy Festival that’s what, and just a taste of the talent who have made the trek to our shores to delight us this 2017 season.

The 5 Star Comedy Preview, hosted by the affable  Jimmy McGhie, introduced the audience to a showcase of the Northern Hemisphere’s finest comedians.  Launching straight into the evening with hilarious monologues; lamenting the loss of the 30-something friend to the perils of wedlock and fatherhood and fantastic flashbacks of first sexual encounters .

My guest and I were treated to the best seats in the theatre, albeit strategically placed for the inevitable heckling that would ensue, and to which my American compadre took most graciously, reveled in almost ….

Enter great-scot Iain Stirling, with entertaining story-telling ranging from irresponsible parenting to rain clouds and behemoth grandmas, he was then followed by the diminutive but ever-so animated Adam Hest, his erratic and self-deprecating humor prevailed throughout his performance, and one could not help but share in his angst and juvenile misfortunes.

Lou Sanders, the stand-alone female act on a stage monopolized by men, brought a refreshingly short set, brimming with sharp, cutting and street-smart smut.  A humanly flawed yet utterly relatable character, with whom I could definitely see myself swapping disastrous dating stories, whilst chugging back a pint (or 5).

Highlights for me, were Ismo Leikola – a sell out at last year’s 2016 Comedy Festival.  His charming and accurate anecdotes regarding the absurdities of some of  our Western mannerisms, never fail to entertain and he had the audience falling over side-ways (literally).

The second-half of the night’s festivities was a rip-roar of laughter from there on in; The dapper and well-suited Chris Martin took a more light-hearted approach with his reliably charming ‘mum-whispering’ abilities and his fanciful ideas of incorporating owls into the most romantic of ceremonies.

Markus Birdman, another festival favourite, shared wry and ironical musings of his family’s clerical upbringing, all in his shrewd, yet intelligent and sardonic sexy fashion.

Ed Gamble and Hal Cruttenden rounded up the successful and raucously entertaining evening, with Ed’s uncanny resemblance to an ‘undercover Morman’ and fantastic re-enactments of penis examinations, followed by Hal’s endearing tales of formidable Northern Irish wives and relentless mocking of a fellow comedy-goer added the prefect amount of spice to the platter of satirical genius the evening provided.

What a treat, and what a blast – a fantastic prelude to the frivolity that is set to unfold this comedy season.

5 Star Comedy Preview – you bet it was!