‘A fast gala is a good gala’ was the collective mantra of host Rhys Darby, 20 local and international comedians, and a happy giggling audience at the Flick Electric Co. Comedy Gala last night. A far slicker and pacier affair than previous years, the annual gala is a showcase of some of the top talent here at the NZ International Comedy Festival.
Hosted by Rhys Darby, who’s fresh from rolling around with Mulder and Scully and getting paranoid in the bush in Hunt for the Wilder People, was a welcome compère for the night and the crowd treated him warmly. Opening with his affectionate memories of the New Zealand Army, he held the show together keeping the audience relaxed, and suitably hyped, while delivering some crowd pleasers and teasers of his two shows here at this year’s festival – Rhysently Granted and I’m a Fighter Jet.
With 20 great comedians to entertain us, I can say that everyone was a treat and the strict four minutes time limit meant they came with their best game and delivered. Highlights from the Kiwi’s were Urzila Carlson, who always nails it with her likeable open style and snippets of her everyday struggles with Jam. Pax Assadi’s high school tribulations gave for some original and entraining anecdotal jokes and Guy Williams’ flag referendum deconstruction hit the spot in his ever relaxed style. Guy Montgomery’s revelations into the personal lives of flies should become a festival favourite.
From the internationals, Nish Kumar made us all confront the evils of some board games and was clever, sharp and a definite must-see at this year’s fest. Gala favourite James Acaster is back, and will no doubt delight audiences again this year going by this short but perfectly sweet routine. American cowboy Wilson Dixon gave us a sneak peek of his musical prowess which defo made me want to hear the rest of his back catalogue. Wonderfully arrogant and nonchalant Marcel Lucont put us all in our place with his brilliant new term accounting for that special Kiwi pronunciation. Arj Barker totally rocked it and brought the house down with huge crowd reactions to his relationship experiences/trust issues, another not-to-be-missed performer. Heath Franklin’s Chopper was hilarious in his calling out of some of the latest trends and brought the room a great burst of energy.
In addition to the c, medy the ASB Theatre was a great venue for the event and the stage set looked classy and even provided some fodder for Darby’s opening routine.
The Flick Electric Co.Comedy Gala is the perfect tasting menu for the NZ International Comedy Festival.
I bet you’re gutted you missed this? Well never fear as it was all recorded and will be broadcast on TV3 25 April at 8.30pm.
Reviewed by Ingrid Grenar.