Freshly returned from the UK comedy circuit, Kiwi Rhys Mathewson's solo offering shows the fine-tuning that he has undergone in the past few years. This is a marvellous performance.
It may be impossible to convey the sense of magic that pervades last night's performance. Mathewson is a wizard of jokes, conjuring up layers of hilarity in his anecdotes, observations and general nerdiness. While his approach is casual and he confesses he has not actually timed the set yet, his professionalism stands out when dealing with a rather too-keen-to-be-involved punter and genuinely interacting with the audience.
It is wonderful to have Mathewson appreciate the reactions of his audience as much as we appreciate his jokes. He is a true wordsmith and to this reviewer's delight, there are enough puns and pop-culture references to delight all ages.
The theme of man being like a werewolf is a great springboard but it is a little disappointing when he returns to that theme and gets philosophical towards the end. Maybe that is because you have just heard some of the funniest things ever to be said and want more. There is a nice mix of local and international links in his set and more than once I laugh so hard I can't breathe.
If you like laughing (so that's everybody) please, just go and see it for yourself.
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Last night at the Basement’s ‘studio’ venue, Rhys Mathewson tore the roof down with some no frills, modern material with a truly classic stand up vibe in his show Hombre Lobo.
Rhys has an uncanny ability to turn anything he, or anyone says into rampant humour. The crowd of internet age knowledgeables were a perfect audience for non stop 60 minutes of relentless roaring amusement. He even managed to get several bits out of the fact that the mic was the only convention of the standup genre. Even using it when it wasn’t working because that’s just what you do. The intimate room wasn’t affected for a second by the technical hitch, and was later in hysterics with a high energy emotional porn boom operator rendition, perfect use of the the comedian’s only true prop.
He was free do whatever he wanted after explaining that the show theme of ‘change’ had indeed changed. Mathewson skilfully brought any topics about love, life, breakups, travel, masturbation (you know, all the important stuff) back to the other main theme of the night, ‘Hombre’ and ‘Lobo’. Amazingly, he managed to change every man in the room’s idea of an ideal threesome with one simple statement. Or at least got them re-thinking it.
Rhys is only 23, but is a seasoned pro of the local circuit. with international experience. He stays in tune with the 20-30 something crowd and this is where he truly shines. He joked that the show was only made that afternoon (one of many self deprecating moments), however for the his first show of the festival this is one seemingly polished hour. This may simply be a testament to his ability to improvise, with any and every opportunity to spontaneously involve the audience taken up and nailed to full effect. His friendly vibe makes the audience comfortable, and his ability to link two un-linkable ideas is an awesome skill.
I can’t help but think that we missed out on some of the prepared material due to time and his willingness to engage the audience and ‘run with it’. However that simply didn’t matter, as everything was hilarious and if anything this show is going to get better and better. I could easily have watched him for another hour.
Catch Rhys Mathewson – Hombre Lobo until 3 May at The Basement… you won’t regret it.
Without taking away from his opening preamble, Rhys Mathewson’s Hombre Lobo addresses the profound, if not obscure, concept of the duality of man. While that may not necessarily come across as comedy gold, it provides a great centre-point for Mathewson’s material, as he takes us through a journey of introspection.
Fresh from the UK, with experiences that provide plenty of comedy fodder, Mathewson seems to have grown both as an individual and as a comedian. There is a real sense of completeness, which is not always found in comedy, in Mathewson’s show. The best example of this is his ability to abruptly switch into genuinely introspective and poignant moments, with the audience suddenly falling silent from laugh out loud moments, to the point where you could hear a pin drop.
Mathewson also has a great sense of both ease and control on stage, and deftly deals with a light-hearted, nevertheless disruptive, heckler. There is a classic self-deprecation in the comedy, but it is nicely balanced in a strong and confident performance. Of all the shows I have seen thus far in the comedy festival, Hombre Lobo is easily the one that gave me the most to think and laugh about.
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