NZICF 2018: Billy T Jams

Another year, another comedy fest! The well established Billy T Jams kicks off as a precursor to the festival and is also a great opportunity to check out the acts who are in the running for the Billy T award which aims to recognize and support up-and-coming comedians in the local circuit.

This year’s showcase was hosted by former winner Rhys Mathewson who was in fine form with his charmingly self-deprecating style of comedy and sharp wit. It’s really great to see those up for the award were predominantly females which says a lot about the future of New Zealand comedy.

Last year’s Best Newcomer winner and indisputable “long human” Melanie Bracewell kicked the evening off. Her archetypal woes of the single woman were given new light and humor with her quirky yet spot on analogies on usual suspect topics like dating, sex and social media.

Next to take the stage was Alice Snedden with material that was similarly standard fare yet her dry observational humor had some good comic moments. Where she really got into her stride was when sharing stories about her mum who it seems has a penchant for comedy too.

Comedians turned self-proclaimed pop stars Two Hearts (Laura Daniel and Joseph Moore) closed the first half with their irreverent brand of musical satire. Though pairing music and comedy is not new, this boisterous duo easily entertain with their delightfully catchy and facetious tunes about love (the fan girling type) and slutty ghosts.

Donna Brookbanks‘ elaborate introduction which was like a reverse crowd surf was probably a bit overkill but it is very much part of her schtick. Her socially awkward persona couple well with the physical theatre she brings to her performance for an oddly endearing set.

James Malcolm rounds up the cast of this year’s nominees with casual banter about being a gay icon (according to a teenage fan) which he uses as a springboard to crowd test his gaydar and also a rather harrowing tidbit about his over-sharing mother. While he doesn’t bring anything particularly new to the table, his material had good comedic value.

Last year’s winner Angella Dravid closes the show with her unique brand of low key comedic storytelling. There is something really appealing about her trademark nervous disposition and awkward demeanor – you can’t help but be drawn in to her anecdotes.

All in all, it was a good laugh out that has got the laughing muscles itching for more. Bring on the festival!

All these 2018 nominees have solo shows at the upcoming New Zealand International Comedy Festival which kicks off from 26 April for just over 3 weeks. Check out comedyfestival.co.nz for dates and more info.

 

 

 

 

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NZICF 2017: Rhys Mathewson – Rhys Classic

Rhys Mathewson started his career in comedy at a young age and has accomplished a lot over the years. Most notably he is the youngest comic to be awarded NZ’s prestigious Billy T and Fred awards, a fact which he shamelessly slips in during the show whenever he deems it necessary.

There’s one thing that Mathewson has not quite managed to master yet though and that is conquering the marketing and social media game. That and doing tech for himself which though unorthodox provided great comic relief. Rhys Classic is the product of his plight to discovering what his comedy brand is, which he ponders and talks through with the audience.

Over the course of the hour, Mathewson reflects back on his past like the pivotal moment he became a comedian and also talks about his hopeful choice of clothing for his future self. He recounts the time he played improv games at a friend’s funeral and how he resorted to a self-imposed sexual harassment charge as a result of being home alone all day.

A highlight was Mathewson narrating a hilarious email exchange between himself and a council representative to do with being inconvenienced by the Auckland Marathon. His ongoing, unabashed facetiousness which builds in each message is highly amusing and reveal his quick wit as well as irreverent sense of humor.

He may not know how to sell his shows but he sure knows how to market himself on stage. Rhys Classic is another solid offering from Mathewson; his assured bravado and seasoned comedic instincts come together brilliantly for a consistently funny hour.

Rhys Mathewson will be performing at The Classic until 20th May. For more details and to book tickets, click here.

NZICF 2016: Rhys Mathewson – Nouveau Rhys

Rhys Mathewson

Rhys Mathewson has been in show business for ten years and is heavily in debt which is very likely correlated. To commemorate this, he has a twenty-one-year-old hidden talent he wishes to share with us all.

Nouveau Rhys sees Mathewson change things up a bit by adding a bit of performance flair to his set. The show kicks off with a quite literally stomping opener which incorporated some brilliant toilet humor one-liners that worked an absolute treat with the audience.

After such a vigorous start, the direction of the show was uncertain and you wondered how Mathewson could keep the momentum going but he does so impressively without difficulty. It’s easy to forget that he has been in the circuit for a decade considering he is only twenty-five. He displays a confidence and ease on stage that could rival other more seasoned comics.

Over the course of the hour, Mathewson thoroughly entertains the audience with his intelligent and exceedingly witty commentary about various things in life. We learn about the time he heckled a bus driver, his hatred for ‘Irish tap dancing’ and how he measures time using food. He also shared some amusing and interesting opinions which included what he thinks of democracy and why the Lotto is a government conspiracy.

Mathewson’s casual, conversational style makes the show incredibly easy to just sit back, absorb and engage with. His greatest strength though is in the richness of the material itself which possesses a maturity and well-honed comedic dexterity that is well beyond his years.

Nouveau Rhys delivers a pitch-perfect set of sharp and endlessly hilarious anecdotal comedy that will have you in stitches. Mathewson’s charisma as an entertainer coupled with his undeniable talent at comedy make for an utterly enjoyable hour.

5-stars

Nouveau Rhys is on at The Classic at 10pm until May 14th. For more details and to book tickets, click here.