Heath Franklin’s Chopper The Line Up Review

Chopper, the brilliant comic creation of Aussie Heath Franklin, has easily become one of New Zealand’s favourite acts and it is no surprise that this Auckland crowd were happy to be along for this TV recording at the Skycity Theatre.

After explaining the evening’s proceedings, Chopper left the stage and introduced the first act in his ‘line-up’.

West Aucklander Andrew Clay was first on stage and had the difficult task of keeping the momentum flowing after Chopper. This task proved perhaps a bit touch for Clay, whose laid-back style was in direct juxtaposition to Chopper.

Australia’s David Quirk was up second, and did a good job of keeping the audience engaged. His anecdotes were fast-paced, relevant and the audience were kept in suspense right through to the final punchline of his set.

The sole female on the bill, New Zealander Penny Ashton, was up third and provided an enjoyable mixture of anecdotal comedy and musical fun. Her song ‘Rohypnal Girl’ was met with one of the biggest applauses of the night.

After a small interlude from Chopper, one of New Zealand’s biggest rising star Cori-Gonzalez-Macuer was up next. While his stories were funny, I was left wanting a lot more from his short set.

Kiwi musical comedian Gish was next up; with his clever re-writes of notable songs (including a hilarious rework of the Maori New Zealand national anthem), Gish provided the best set so far and the audience were pleased with the change in tempo.

As we entered the final quarter of the show, Tarun Mohanbhai took to the stage with some anecdotes around entering TV singing contest ‘The X Factor’. His clever observations were met with big applause and lots of laughter.

After being warned by Chopper that the next act was simply ‘weird’, Australian Sam Simmons took to the stage with a desk chair, a pot plant and a jar of olives. What followed was my favourite set of the night, and one of the best 5-minute sets I have ever seen. His imitation of a child eating olives was a highlight. Great stuff!

The penultimate act of the night was Kiwi favourite James Nokise, who impressed the crowd with clever observations about New Zealand’s ANZAC celebrations and the Second World War.

Our final act of the night was something of a surprise: purple puppet Randy, the creation of Australian comic Sammy J, jumped out from a box on stage and brought the night home in perfect style. Brilliant comedy.

‘Chopper’s The Line Up’ was a brilliant night of comedy with some acts surpassing others.

Obviously, Chopper was on perfect form as were Gish, Sam Simmons and Randy – my favourite acts of the night.

Heath Franklin’s Chopper, The Line Up is on for another night 9 May.

4 stars -