Within the last 2 years, Rose Matafeo has become one of New Zealand’s most recognised faces on TV (as a co-star on shows such as Jono and Ben and 7 Days) and one of this country’s favourite stand-up comedians. And now, in 2015, she is staging her own funeral at Basement Theatre until June 13th. Finally Dead is part stand-up comedy, part theatre and filled with all the usual clever observations, fantastic one-liners and truly hilarious musical moments that we’ve come to expect from Rose. After receiving rave reviews and a sell-out season at this year’s New Zealand International Comedy Festival, Matafeo is back with Finally Dead for an encore week, and if Tuesday night’s packed opener was anything to go by, crowds are in for a treat.
I have seen Matafeo live every year since her dual tour with Guy Williams a few years back, and it has been fascinating seeing how her act changes each time. She has always been funny (she’s a Billy T winner, deservedly) partially down to her awkward yet relatable ‘kiwi-ness’ and her knack to make the everyday comical, but her latest offering is something more. Throughout the course of Rose’s staged funeral service, (which includes everything from a guest-book to live organ music) we are witness to a collection of stories and comments about death and Matafeo’s morbid obsession with it. There are segments of pure stand-up, but the theatre element of the show is predominant, with funny asides shared with co-stars Paul Williams (also in charge of music) and Madeline Sami (also director). It’s original, quirky and very, very funny.
Every aspect of this show from start to finish is perfectly executed and laugh-out-loud hilarious, and I cannot recommend it highly enough – Finally Dead is a blast.
Reviewed by Stewart Sowman-Lund
PHOTO CREDIT:Josh Griggs