FUQ BOIZ FOREVER HAMISH PARKINSON & RYAN RICHARDS. NZ International Comedy Festival

Words Sarah Kidd

The duo of Hamish Parkinson and Ryan Richards aka Fuq Boiz were first introduced to the world in 2017, the matching tuxedo wearing comedians receiving nothing but praise for their debut show that later went on to spawn ‘Fuq Boiz Resurrection’ last year.

But the end has come for the beloved duo, Parkinson and Richards presenting one and all with their ‘magnum opus’ to the brilliant triptych that sees the audience join the Fuq Boiz in the depths of Hell to which they have been sentenced for their crimes.

Parkinson who has been a previous winner of the coveted Billy T Comedy Award is fantastic, his often frenzied performance leaving you transfixed as he leans this way and that into the different scenarios, each one more unpredictable than the next, not once within the sixty minute performance ever giving an inch. In fact, Parkinson is so engrossed in his own character that he continues long after the last audience member has left the room, his manic rabbling’s echoing down the hall and nipping at your heels.
Richards on the other hand has an honesty to his persona, his love and devotion to his partner in crime shown through a range of actions, emotions and periodic hilarious brief musical interludes that will make you chortle while simultaneously pulling at a heart string or two.

Social commentary is also cleverly weaved throughout, the script showing not only outstanding humour but intellect as well as it dives headfirst down the rabbit hole into a nonsensical wonderland of absurdity.

Fuq Boiz is surreal humour, the physicality and at times sonic assault with a side order of props resulting in an immersive act that drags you in and will not relent until you beg for mercy. Happy in their rather warm fiery surroundings with their favourite reading matter to hand – the Ponsonby News not only a prop but a bubbling cauldron of statement – the Fuq Boiz cavort amongst their cherished memories of an outstanding day, seemingly content in their locked down and unbreakable partnership. But something is afoot in the bowels of hell, a chain of events bringing about mistrust, jealously and flashbacks that had the audience howling in laughter.

Fuq Boiz Forever is a show that gives you everything you could ever desire in a comedy, from old school slapstick to satirical one liners that will have you smirking like the Cheshire cat. So come, let your hosts Hamish Parkinson and Ryan Reynolds show you around, stay awhile and partake of all there is on offer. Just remember, don’t touch the ham

Cedric Burnside Gig Review

Words/Photos Wal Reid

American electric blues drummer, guitarist, singer and songwriter Cedric Burnside has Blues written all over him. He was literally born with the genome running through his Mississippi veins.

The son of Blues drummer Calvin Jackson and grandson of Blues singer, songwriter, and guitarist R. L. Burnside, it was Auckland’s turn to experience the hypnotic Deep South sounds he wrangled out of his beat up guitar, alongside slide guitar/drummer virtuoso Brian Jay.

Amongst many others, Burnside is no slouch in the drums department also. Having either live or on record, bashed the skins for legends Jessie Mae Hemphill and the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion. But tonight he played songs off his latest album Benton Country Relic, his voice a refined raspiness while picking a flurry of pentatonic notes – it was pure sonic bliss.

“If John Lee Hooker was right and “Blues is the healer”, then Cedric Burnside administered just the right dosage to leave the Kiwi audience wanting more. “

He was in fine form tonight, his Southern drawl almost tailor-made to the carefully crafted set including some traditional Muddy Waters before hamming it up with Jay accompanying him on slide guitar, the pairing added a fantastic funky groove to the night while the music resonated with the full house audience, punters intent on having a good time.

Every time he belly laughed “Well, well, well.” It was followed up by an equally impressive intro, like into Hard To Be Cool or Death Bell Blues the music transporting the listener to the rich Delta Blues heritage he harkens from. The night was divided between Burnside and Jay taking turns swapping instruments, as they closed out their generously timed set to a spent and satisfied crowd.

If John Lee Hooker was right and “Blues is the healer”, then Cedric Burnside administered just the right dosage to leave the Kiwi audience wanting more. Fantastic

The Improv Bandits. NZ International Comedy Festival

Words Sarah Kidd

There is an art to improv – despite what the non-believers might tell you – it is a form of comedy that by no means is as simple as it looks. It requires lightening speed reaction times, quick wits and a little more than a dollop of twisted humour. Luckily The Improv Bandits are seasoned professionals, each armed with an abundance of the above skills and a few other little tricks besides.

Utilising the large blank space at Auckland’s Herald Theatre the troupe of six (Wade, Geoff, Mark, Tom, Paul and Amy) began the evening with some warm-up exercises; not for themselves mind you, but for the audience. A clever icebreaker for both performer and attendee it resulted in much laughter and a few eye-opening retorts.

“The Improv Bandits are seasoned professionals, each armed with an abundance of the above skills and a few other little tricks besides.”

Formed in 1997 The Improv Bandits are not only experienced but award winning, founding member Wade Jackson – who at one point had many of the audience members in literal tears as he ‘visually interpreted’ a particular scene – having himself been awarded a world championship title more than once. Members have come and gone over the years, some such as Geoff Simmons branching off to form troupes of their own in Wellington, but never turning down an opportunity to come out and play for their appreciative Auckland fans.

Requesting key words from the crowd has always been an integral component of improv, the more amusing and leftfield suggestions providing the Bandits both a challenge and material that can result in some of the most uniquely, original scenes that attendees could ever hope for; so don’t forget to think outside the box! But it’s not all just acting, both Mark and Paul bringing an additional musical element to the evening, that is as charming as it is face-achingly funny; familiar personality about stage and screen, Tom Kane’s physicality bringing a whole other dimension to a skit that involved both slow motion and stunt doubles.

For most of the show the six performers will utilise common improv tools, requesting a particular scenario from an audience member with a few additional details upon which to build a form of play that at times is so believable that you often forget that they had only just been given the facts a few moments ago. In otherwords, yes, The Improv Bandits are just that good. Word play, double entendres, mice with matches and fish phobias reigned supreme in a fun-filled hour that left you feeling delightfully elated. The brilliance being that you could return to every subsequent show and know that you would witness something completely different again.
The Improv Bandits are for anyone that wants to sit back relax and let the frivolities unfurl before them, safe in the knowledge that in the Improv Bandits hands humour will only bloom.

Darryl-Lee Wendelborn: Beca NZ, Managing Director – NZ Business Podcast 39

Over 20-years Darryl-Lee Wendelborn progressed from an Engineer to Managing Director at Beca New Zealand. In this episode of NZ Business Podcast we delve into Darryl-Lee’s life in business, gaining insights and learnings from her fascinating journey.

Get the Podcast here:

Show Links:

Beca: https://www.beca.com/
One Plus One Communications: https://www.oneplusonegroup.co.nz/
Paul Spain – Linked in: https://nz.linkedin.com/in/paulspain
Paul Spain – CEO, Business & Tech Commentator, Futurist: https://www.paulspain.com/

You can keep current with our latest NZ Business Podcast updates via Twitter @NZ_Business, the NZBusinessPodcast.com website.

The post Darryl-Lee Wendelborn: Beca NZ, Managing Director – NZ Business Podcast 39 appeared first on NZ Business Podcast.

C-SUITE ALL FEMALE, ALL FUNNY. NZ International Comedy Festival

“The comedians made especially good use of running gags and continuity throughout the sweet one hour set.”

Words Joelle Reid

It is a bleak Friday morning and I am stirring a very large coffee cup with a very small teaspoon. ‘Fuck!’ I frown at the spoon- I have childhood trauma issues for picking that teaspoon.

-Or so I was taught last night when I attended the C-suite improv comedy show. The all female cast (starting talented Gill Berry, Narelle Jackson, Evie Ashton, Tamara Androsoff, and Darcy Murray) pulled first world problems out of a hat and managed to gripe about everything from tea spoon users to SUV drivers. The improv made me giggle, and the comedians made especially good use of running gags and continuity throughout the sweet one hour set.

The Tiny Theatre at Garnet Station was intimate and homely which put me in a great mood for a laugh. With a wine in hand I could have a front row view right from the back, where I could see even the nervous glare from the comedians. It added to the overall enjoyment for me though because I felt as much as I could see they were trying hard and having fun, they could see how much the audience was enjoying it.

C-Suite is performing tonight (10th May), and tomorrow (11th May), so if you hate traffic as much as they do and are looking for a laugh head along to the Garnet Station, Westmere, to hear their gripes at 7-8pm.

Rhiannon McCall Eat Slay Love

“The pointed and jabbing humour often working best as the crowds’ awkward discomfort increases.”

Words Sarah Kidd

Happiness, we all want it. But how do we truly achieve it? In an age where the number of Instagram followers seems to be the preferred barometer of self-worth, social media peddlers of ultimate euphoria flaunt their wares, each one claiming to hold the organic, vegan, ethically sourced answer…and you can have it too, if you just buy the book.

Enter Dr. Rhirhi, a divorced mother of two that woke up one morning and decided to re-invent her life into that of a self-made guru (actual qualifications not required when you just believe in it!) who churns out literary guides faster than it takes your home-made kombucha to ferment.
Rhiannon McCall has absolutely outdone herself with this rather physical comedy which drags the audience – at times reluctantly – into the world of Dr. Rhirhi and her latest book tour, which includes a comprehensive three-step program for fundamental happiness, complete with disturbing beauty regimes and a constant neurotic need for verbal validation.

Performing an entire stand-up routine based on a singular character takes guts; the risk being that audience members may not bond with the persona, which can result in a gradual death knell for a comedian who relies on audience participation to keep the flow of the show alive.
McCall is aware of this and works the room, leaving very little chance for the audience to ever become disinterested, the performance itself short and punchy, coming in at just forty minutes. Her character of Dr. Rhirhi is loud and brash and when she periodically crumbles under the weight of the reality of her own circumstances, McCall brilliantly takes her into overdrive; think Annette Benings meltdown scene in American Beauty but with an extra layer of cringe.

And it’s that cringe factor that plays out beautifully throughout the show, McCalls periodic overacting more a statement on how detrimentally unbalanced wearing these constant façades would be. The pointed and jabbing humour often working best as the crowds’ awkward discomfort increases.

Winner of the Best Actress Award in the 2017 48 Hour Film Competition, McCall puts both her skills and natural talent to good use under the directorship of Laura Daniel (Two Hearts), little touches of Daniels’ humour dotted throughout.
With a spectacular ending that is not for the faint of heart, the already impressive physicality of McCalls performance reaching a crescendo that made the entire audience recoil; Eat Slay Love is vivacious satire at its best.

BEC SANDYS, BROOKE WEST & AUDREY PORNE ROLE MODELS. NZ International Comedy Festival

Words Mike Beck

What happens when you exchange the academic disseminations of Jordan Peterson for a trio of sassy sisters, who deliver their stuff confidently on the comedic stage? You get one of the best platforms to investigate the sometimes controversial topic of feminism; bring in Role Models.

This debut raw comedy from Bec Sandys, Brooke West & Audrey Porne, harnesses the f word as its essence (as well as continuity to bind the three acts), & challenges its parameters by sharing many of their own colourful & broad life experiences. Each of them has their own unique style also…
West, who is currently well into a pregnancy, presents an honest take on her plight; “don’t judge & just bring the tequilas to the hospital; anyone who goes through the ordeal of childbirth deserves a drink.” The c word flows freely & naturally with this one.

Porne, has a lens that looks leftfield at her numerous personal encounters. Of herself; “I’m a Scorpio; which translates into scary slut”, & when out on a rare date; “he opened the door for him, not me. I’m a feminist so I loved it.”
Sandys appears & delivers with a twist of cocky Ocker; “Gidday ballbags.” She makes light of some considerable family/personal battles; “I remember the 1st time I got fucked up, when I was 2. Parents really shouldn’t leave those bottles all over the place.”

In much the same way that Destiny Church comes under scrutiny for its exclusive entry policy, Role Models exposes a few cracks in the feminist movement to both challenge & humour its audience. The sisterhood should include all sisters, right? & that aspect of diversity is what Role Models has at its heart, filling those gaps of otherness.

Role Models runs til Saturday eve (May 11th), at the cozy setting of the Cellar (drop down at the back of Q Theatre). Its later slot (10pm), & taboo breaking programme make for perfect timing if you want to unravel heading up to & into the weekend.

Cori Gonzaler-Macuer Up/Down. NZ International Comedy Festival

“Yes, mental health features prominently, and yes, it is raw, and it is gritty.”

Words Sarah Kidd

When he isn’t playing the part of a mis-behaved vampire alongside Taika Waititi or delivering thought provoking TEDX talks, you can usually find Cori Gonzaler-Macuer on 7 Days or hanging out in the local park with his three-year-oldy daughter. 2019 however, is also the year that you can find Gonzalez-Macuer back on stage as part of the NZ International Comedy Festival. And what a welcome return it is.

It’s been three years since Gonzalez-Macuer has featured in the festival, and much has changed between now and then. But a lot of things haven’t either. It’s a mix of the two, the ups and the downs as Gonzalez-Macuer will tell you and some days are certainly better than others. But he’s not resorting to a career in real estate just yet.

Appearing in Q Theatre’s Vault space, the intimate setting is perfect for Gonzalez-Macuers’ act. There is comedy to be found here, tied to the gate like a white flag of surrender it is often self-deprecating, coming from within an introspective view of one’s self and past behaviours. With a beckoning hand it welcomes you, lays its cards of insecurity on the table and then delivers the kill shot, right between the eyes.

The show tackles some tough personal issues, Gonzalez-Macuer eviscerating the contents of the last three years and pointing out the goriest bits. Yes, mental health features prominently, and yes, it is raw, and it is gritty; Gonzalez-Macuers’ delivery candidly blunt, his awkward and at times hesitant shift from one detail to another only providing a further insight into the topics he is discussing.

Gonzalez-Macuers’ sometimes-half-hearted and sardonic style of stand-up has been criticised in the past, accusations of a comedian who doesn’t really care about being there in the first-place tainting not only his career but his own self-worth. And to be fair there was probably some truth to that, Gonzalez-Macuer himself admitting to not always being on his best behaviour on stage or off. His delivery last night still maintains some of that dead-pan shtick that he is known for, but the nonchalance has been replaced with a desire to not only communicate but connect, an underlying thread of encouragement for others to do the same drawing the performance together.

But just like the name of the show, it is not all doom and gloom. Hilarious anecdotes of hypnotism by rocks and the rubbing of tummies ensue, whilst one-liners lead the way into some sideways jabs at politicians and well known New Zealand faces. The demonstration of his recently learned improv skills worth the ticket price alone (no seriously, he needs to pay off those classes).

Gonzalez-Macuers’ comedy takes you on a rollercoaster of emotions which at some point may just leave you squirming uncomfortably in your seat, but at least he’s honest about it. And when it comes to the topic of mental health, honest emotions are exactly what this country needs.

Two Hearts Winery Tour. NZ International Comedy Festival

“Daniel and Moore are this generations Flight of The Conchords, but with bite.”

Words Sarah Kidd

When it comes to telling someone how much you enjoyed a comedy act, a basic score is often what is asked for. So, here’s a score for you; five out of – that show was just so good that I want to bottle it like French champagne – five.

Yes, the comedic duo of Laura Daniel and real-life partner and co-writer Joseph Moore are back with their brand new musical exposé that will leave you both gasping for breath while simultaneously tapping your toes along to the beat.

Gone are the non-stop touring popstars struggling to make enough money with which to live their desired balla lifestyles; instead fedora wearing, chardonnay swilling, adult contemporary musicians have emerged from their chrysalis of maturity ready to take on The Winery Tour and fleece those baby boomers for all that they are worth as they deliver a set of their own original compositions and ‘covers’ of some of New Zealand’s national treasures of music such as Mr Dave Dobbyn himself (and before you ask, no, it’s not Loyal).

There is a high energy pace to the performance, costume changes and introductions of props to an already beautifully laid out stage done so seamlessly thanks to the additional assistance of the Two Hearts ‘sommelier’; the multi-media aspect acting as the cherry on top due it’s limited but perfectly timed use.

As with previous shows, Two Hearts musical compositions address current issues such as climate change with razor-sharp wit, the duo never afraid to rip off the plaster and poke around underneath at topics such as New Zealand’s drinking culture and the brutalities of factory farming. Pop songs about cyber sex with long distance partners bringing forth more light-hearted topics that will have your ribs pleading for surrender.

Daniels’ is currently also competing on this year’s season of Dancing with the Stars, her skills coming in handy as she displays some fancy footwork while traversing the stage, the opportunity to remind those in attendance to vote for her seized at any tongue-in-cheek opportunity. While both Daniel and Moore are just as talented as each-other, Moore often delivering fast paced raps that feature quick-witted lyricism, Daniels’ hands down steals the show, her character often shape-shifting before your very eyes.

Culminating in a final dance routine that sees a remix of their previous seasons ‘hardcore rap’ hit – complete with back-up dancers – segue into a hilarious tune dedicated to poking fun at the very audience that The Winery Tour is aimed at, results in a deafening round of applause and for good reason. Daniel and Moore are this generations Flight of The Conchords but with bite, their material at times devastatingly relatable, and that’s what makes it so damn good.
A faultless balance of music and comedy, Two Hearts is completely brilliant and utterly unmissable

Top End Wedding Film Review

“To my surprise, I found the premise of the film actually really appealing, a journey of self-discovery through an indigenous lens.”

Words Chelsea Pickens

I’m not generally one for a romantic comedy. While some might find comfort and nostalgia in the tried and true formula, I find it predictable, cheesy and usually boring – my last pick at the movies unless dragged there by my ‘rom-com’-loving cousin. So, based on the poster image promoting Top End Wedding, I thought I would probably pass on the opportunity to review it, I don’t need another temporarily-troubled-but-ultimately-perfect-for-each-other love story in my life. But as I was bored and on Facebook anyway, I thought I might as well check out the trailer. To my surprise, I found the premise of the film actually really appealing, a journey of self-discovery through an indigenous lens, smiling through at me from the veneer of a rom-com. Yup, screw it, I was in.

The movie, directed by Wayne Blair (The Sapphires), starts a bit slow, setting up with a bit of hum-drum background about the characters Lauren (Miranda Tapsell) and Ned (Gwilym Lee), who with very short notice fly across Australia away from their stressful professional lives to get married in Lauren’s home town of Darwin. This is where things start get interesting, when Lauren finds her mother is not at their family home as expected but has disappeared, leaving only a note. While Ned attempts to bond with Lauren’s rough-around-the-edges but emotionally devastated father, Lauren reconnects with her home and long neglected, giggling school friends, the source of most of the movie’s cheap laughs. From there (and after a questionable moment of non-consensual abduction masked as romance), Lauren and Ned begin a journey deep into indigenous Northern Territory following the breadcrumbs of the absconded mother.

The real beauty of this movie lies not in the cat-and-mouse adventure, or the really quite sweet relationship between the main characters, and it certainly doesn’t lie in the classic ‘boy loves girl, boy and girl fight, everything is ok in the end’ rom-com formula the movie of course conforms to. Beyond all that common trope is a story that we rarely get to see in our cinemas, an indigenous story of finding home and connecting to the land as traditional owners. The character of Lauren is complex and realistic, a young Aboriginal woman who, in colonised Australia, has never really gotten the chance to explore and learn about her heritage, and really take value from her roots. Her journey of slowly finding her way back to a place she has never been but has always belonged was truly moving.

The Northern Territory is displayed in all its beautiful splendour, definitely prompting me to ponder a Darwin escape, and the mix of Aboriginal actors and locals made for an authentic and vibrant cast. What started as a predictable rom-com ended in a beautiful story of family, connection and healing, ushered along by traditional Tiwi music, bound to warm the heart of even the most indifferent rom-com cynic.

I’m not ashamed – in the last quarter of that rom-com I was sobbing like my cousin in The Notebook. And I would do it all again. Take tissues.

Top End Wedding is released in New Zealand cinemas on 16/05/2019.