In a nutshell, LOL Papakura consists of some ‘newbies' to the comedy circuit tossed lightly in with a few veteran Kiwi comedians, then shaken vigorously. The result of this formula is fairly decent, and receives an enthusiastic response from audience members, who are huddled closely together, savouring their beverages.
The show is opened by host Mike Loder, who starts with a suitable heartiness, plunging at once into welcoming the audience and also revealing the presence of a certain critic (i.e. ME), loudly proclaiming to all that he does not care about reviewers. This hits the spot with the audience, and I admire his candidness.
Mike cracks some fantastic gags about his travels to Australia, taking a few minutes to mock Koala Bears and how they really should be classed as fruit, not mammals. At one point he engages directly with an audience member, and together they demonstrate the sound effects of the ‘fighting critters'. I really enjoy the way Mike connects with individual audience members. He has a knack for doing this and clearly relishes this talent throughout the course of the show, constantly bringing up two theatergoers and using them to pull laughs, rather successfully.
The first funnyman to perform is Mr Matt Stellingwerf, who makes a strong entry yet at the same time is perfectly relaxed; he ambles on, making himself at home, drawing laughs almost immediately. It is refreshing to see a comedian who emits an easy going laid back air. He confesses the last time he graced the Hawkins stage was as a dancing priest in a ballet.
Matt makes the most of his time onstage, and brings some great gags about cougars hitting on him, autocorrect on the IPhone, and even braves the waters of Hogwarts with a Harry Potter quip. He discusses his travels to Amsterdam, and some of his past gigs, including a recent one in Dunedin where he humiliated the mayor (by accident of course).
Jan Maree (what a darling) takes to the boards next, and has a long-winded rant to the audience about her single life, and how she is starting to plan for her retirement now at age forty. The dating application Tinder is brought up, and her quest for the perfect man, as well as mixing in some witty comments about kids, jandals, and yoga.
She does have an excellent ‘toilet paper' joke too, and how it should roll to the front rather than the back. This goes down splendidly, but it is an easy laugh that will attract an instant merry reaction. She completely pokes fun at a television commercial for vagina wipes, and tells us of a new product that she has imagined that will inspire men to clean certain areas a bit more thoroughly. I like Jan's enthusiasm and energy, and for LOL Papakura, her comedy is well suited. I really do not understand why she is single!
Comedy star Chris Brain follows Jan Maree, striding onto to stage with a slight swagger. He quietly and almost shyly mentions that he is having a bit of a mid-life crisis, and its impact on his mode of transport (also affected by his working in entertainment). He tells tall tales of some of the sights he has seen on tour recently, including a power-walking Mongrel Mob member.
He cannot resist the temptation to splurge on some jokes at Australia's expense, and the Kiwi spectators take advantage of this moment and roar with laughter. There are gags to do with his teenage years (he was a Goth), the real value of Sunday School, and there is plenty to do with his adventures in London, where he spent much time well and truly. He provokes laughs from the audience often.
The ‘headline' act of the night is the magnificent Terry Frisbee, and let me tell you, it is worth the wait. He includes everything from the old Helen Clark jests, to mocking the nearby village of Drury where he had performed to an audience of four people in a pub for free drinks. Terry keeps his comedy simple, drawing from his own experiences, both here in New Zealand, and overseas.
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