NZICF 2017: Markus Birdman – Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea

To do a stand up comedy show sitting down is pretty gutsy but if there is someone who can pull it off, it’s Markus Birdman. For those already familiar with his work, you’ll know he brings something quite different to the table and this new offering is no exception.

Every year a momentous event in Birdman’s life becomes the catalyst to crafting his shows. When he found himself buying his twelve-year-old daughter her first bra, Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea was inevitably born. This year’s show has a more spoken word feel to it however there is still plenty of his gasp and guffaw inducing irreverent style of comedy to go around.

Written as a means of imparting advice to his daughter, this show is largely based on the Rumplestiltskin fairy tale and unfolds in the form of a visual story book. The amusing and comical narrative is divided in to twelve scenes with Birdman playing the narrator.

This year his signature illustrations come to life with the incorporation of quirky animation and comic voiceovers. In between each vignette, Birdman weaves in candid moments from his life, namely his pursuit as both a comedian and an artist as well as his affectionately facetious relationship with his daughter.

While she may have been the impetus, Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea, at it’s core, is about finding oneself. It is a thought-provoking, delightfully compelling and inherently personal piece that is not your average comedy show but one you should definitely not miss.

Markus Birdman is performing at The Classic until 6th May and the Fringe Bar in Wellington 9th – 13th May. For more details and to book tickets, click here.

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Auckland Encore 2017: James Acaster – Recap

After a quickfire run of his last 3 shows, James Acaster decided to treat Auckland with one more bonus show – a prologue to the ‘trelogy’ to fill in the gaps. Considering there was only a few days to sell tickets the turnout was great which is not at all surprising; he definitely has developed quite a solid fan base here.

While Recap does revisit and tie in to some elements of what was covered across the three shows, you do not need to have seen them to enjoy this one (though you probably wished you had gone!). Some material will be familiar to those who are not new to Acaster’s work but such is his talent as both an adept comedian and skilled storyteller that it will feel like you are hearing it for the first time.

Over the course of the show, we are regaled with amusing stories of early life in his hometown Kettering particularly his job as a lollipop man and we also get reacquainted with his alter ego, Pat Springleaf. In between, Acaster weaves in hilariously extensive research on a breakfast staple, a game of flirty Twister and a hapless tale involving a wooden duck. As usual, each anecdote is perfectly paced and impeccably timed so as to generate the most laughs.

Recap is another highly enjoyable and wonderfully whimsical hour from James Acaster which gives fans the opportunity to relive earlier material while introducing new audiences to old comedic gems. If you’ve not experienced one of his shows before, make sure you get tickets quick-smart next time he’s in town!

To find out where James Acaster will be performing next as well as when he’ll be returning to our shores, check out his gig list on his website. You should also follow him on Twitter.

Check out what I thought of the trelogy!
*Read my review of Recognise here.
*Read my review of Represent here.
*Read my review of Reset here.

Hello and Welcome!

Welcome to my shiny new-and-improved website! Whimsical Banana 2.0 if you will. I do hope you like it here.

As most of you know, I have had to take a bit of a break from the freelance writing game. This was for several reasons but most notably it was because I decided it was about time I go out and explore the big, bad world (read: go on my OE).

Between 2013 and 2015 I spent time traveling around the UK and also some parts of Europe. Lots of things happened in those two years one of them being I got to tick a HUGE thing off my bucket list: attend the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. I also had the privilege of joining Broadway Baby as a comedy and theatre reviewer.

As fun as my time away was, it’s so great to be back home! I returned to Auckland late last year and after just about getting over the thirty-four-hour flight and jet lag, I got a job at the Auckland Arts Festival. I’ve always wanted to work on the ‘other side’ of an arts festival so I was very excited to join the AAF team!

It’s been an eventful eight months and I’m so chuffed to finally be able to write again as I’ve really missed it. Since Whimsical Banana has been out of action for so long and as I feel my style/approach to writing has evolved over time, it just made sense to take this opportunity to rebrand.

Do have a look around – please note, however, that I haven’t yet loaded all my past reviews (listed on the right) but will hopefully do so ASAP!

Faith-Ashleigh x

P.S. One last thing, Whimsical Banana will continue to be live so if I’ve reviewed your show on that site, don’t worry! It will still be available there to read/link to/etc.