It’s the last week of the NZ Comedy Festival and if you haven’t had your bellyful of laughs then you’d better get in quick. For those who were at Le Comique on Sunday night the two-hour event hosted by Carl Donnelly was the perfect comedy tasting platter. As Donnelly himself said, there was guaranteed to be something for everyone (no matter what your taste) and on this year’s Mother’s Day the large crowd were certainly not disappointed.
Donnelly is a jovial, charming Brit and his immediate rapport with the audience (particularly a family in the front row) sets the tone for a delightful and occasionally deliciously wicked night that is packed with fast sharp acts.
Local Westie / South African talent Urzila Carlson takes to the stage and within seconds has the crowd in stitches. Shorter than most of the acts that follow, it nevertheless is a punch set and if you haven’t seen Carlson in action as yet make sure you do!
Next the joys of magic are lifted with the option of seeing some local lads from across the Tasman with their kit off – ensuring the response to The Naked Magicians certainly isn’t shy. Slick and quick these lads prove that magic acts have certainly moved well past pulling rabbits out of hats and card tricks. These boys were more interested in mind-reading exercises, scissors and rope! Mesmerising in their deft sleight-of-hand tricks, there are no capes or phantom sleeves necessary, just pure audacity.
Following the abracadabra duo British talent Tom Binns arrives and despite initial technical difficulties his alter ego Ivan Brackenbury is soon broadcasting live back to the UK, playing songs for the infirm and invalid. Already becoming a favourite, Binns’ particular style of politically incorrect humour is a perfect match for his jukebox collection, and his ability to find the exact match for his suffering listeners is close to genius.
Another favourite of the evening are the ladies from Eastend Cabaret. Utterly riveting, powerful, cheeky and provocative they are everything contemporary cabaret promises to be – and more. From their calling of the man beasts in the audience to foot-stomping ditties, these British sirens bring vaudeville, erotica and class to their cabaret.
Well into bonus time the final acts show no indication of slowing down and Andrew Watts, a dapper gentleman with the air of a professor, quickly proves that a suit and tie are no reason not to have a good time. His anecdotes about his wife, childbirth and occasionally anatomy are delivered with a robust air of self-deprecation making his set one of the most memorable of the night.
Cowboy Wilson Dixon closes the evening, which to the delight of all patrons has extended by more than half an hour (at least) and his mellow voice and charming country songs prove that life really is about the simple joys and ‘doing the right thing’. A perfect close for a high-energy, jam-packed night and credit must be given to both Carl Donnelly for a being a magnificent host, and local band Jessie Cassin and the Hail Marys (with Tom Leggett on drums, Jonathan Burgess on bass and Robin Kelly on keys) who keep the audience grooving throughout the night.
Although it is not obvious why this line-up is called Le Comique, it is clear that some of the best local and international talent have given the audience a massive high as they walk off towards the last week of NZ Comedy Festival. Bring it on!
#comedy #review #donnelly #lecomique