Retrospection is a crazy thing, everything in hindsight seems so easy and past problems are solved by that ever elusive tool – common sense. On Wednesday night James Roque took us for a stroll through his childhood, reminding us that growing up lingers in innocence for ages and then disintegrates into mega-complication in what seems like a jiffy. On the subject of common sense, in hindsight James will probably be a bit gutted that his technological support failed him mid-show, but he should take this as a lesson and include in his letter that he should not rely on technology for his stand-up gigs. Besides, he doesn’t need a laptop and impressive digital cues because he is well capable of holding the stage. I reckon he should stick to the overhead projector for his special effects – keep it old school bro.
Keeping in mind though, James is only 22 years old, and he has gathered a lot of wisdom through his witty observations of growing up as a foreigner in New Zealand. He delivers some great insights into his gangster parents. James Roque is fairly gangster himself, you would not pick it but his knowledge of contemporary rap is sound, and his impersonations are spot on. He does a great Snoop, Kanye and Jay Z and also pulls off what I imagine is a great mimicry of his old man. Despite his technical hiccups, James soldiered on and did a great job of ensuring that things didn’t get gnarly and awkward, his genuine affability saved him there.
James Roque’s show opens up a lot of his personal life, and it takes a heap of courage to do that in front of an audience. I admired his ability to make fun of himself and at the same time offer some insights into the perspectives of those families who happen upon a strange, green place with cloud elongation and alien culture.
With hindsight in mind once more, I think we may have caught young James out. At the start of the show we were asked to ensure our phones were off, he then later told a story about his own secret texting mission at someone else’s show! The cheek of it! Go and see James before the festival ends, he is a splendid lad and Vault @ Q Theatre is toasty as.
Reviewed by Ben Blackman