It wouldn’t be a New Zealand Comedy Festival without Rose Matafeo. In recent years, the former Jono and Ben star, TV host and Snort performer has come to be one of the highlights in the Festival’s calendar, with sell-out shows and rave reviews. In fact, her 2015 show ‘Finally Dead’ is still one of the best comedic offerings I’ve seen live. So, it was with a lot of anticipation that I headed off to Matafeo’s latest show – Sassy Best Friend.
The show itself is classic Rose; it’s littered with clever pop-culture references, musical interludes and structured in such a way that jokes from the beginning become even funnier as they are later referenced. However, this show is even more personal than ever, dealing with her teenage years and subjects such as sex, birth control, depression and love. Despite the potentially heavy issues, Rose tackles them with her usual self-assurance and a friendly stage presence. It feels like an hour spent with a good friend.
As per the title, the show is intended to showcase how Matafeo is the classic romantic comedy best friend. The one who always has curly hair, makes sassy jokes and is never the ‘leading lady.’ It’s an instantly relatable and engaging premise and one which Rose has a lot of fun with. Her audience interaction is a highlight, as she aims to get one audience member to fall in love with her by the end of the hour-long performance.
Perhaps due to some first night nerves, but some moments come across as a bit too rehearsed, or on the contrary, a bit too improvised, muddling the flow just a bit.
However, the laughs never relent from the first minute to the last, reinforcing that an evening spent in Rose’s company is always one well-spent meaning I highly recommend a night with your new Sassy Best Friend.
Reviewed by Stewart Sowman-Lund.