I first witnessed Chris Parker’s talent for dancing at a comedy night at Golden Dawn, where his gleefully childlike physical comedy brought tears of laughter to the crowd.
Tonight I saw the extended version – the full backstory, if you will.
The show is a personal journey from childhood to adulthood, shown through a generous amount of dance and the voices of Chris’ parents. You feel as if you’re sitting on the couch in the “good room”, where 12-year-old Chris likes to dance, despite slightly nervous requests from his Mum who’s worried he might break some of their “nice things”.
The opening act – his performance to the Lord of the Dance theme; is equal parts hilarious and masterful. He gallops round the stage with fierce momentum, his face a picture of barely contained emotions. He veers from extreme joy in one scene, to weeping with sadness in the next.
It’s fast-paced, unpredictable, and joyous.
Home videos from his early childhood show Chris as a baby, and there’s a quick re-enactment where he plays his Mum, in a dress, with a wig, and a pram.
Simple props and spot-on impersonations are key parts of the story. The appearances of Parker’s Mum and Dad make the story even funnier, more accessible and affecting.
Towards the end, he tries to resist his natural urge to dance. It’s the best physical demonstration of “don’t fight it” I’ve seen in a long time. He executes this brilliantly, protesting loudly throughout an epic dance scene that draws whoops and cheers from the audience.
There’s a brief reference to him coming out to his parents, but not as you might expect it. It’s the only real bit of stand up in there, and is as much as is needed, barely stopping the flow of this jam-packed hour of fun.
It’s followed by a beautifully poignant ending, which I won’t spoil. But trust me, if you love dance, physical comedy and a good ol’ Kiwi coming of age story, you need to see this show.
Reviewed by Dedee W