Alice Snedden – Absolute Monster is must-see homegrown comedy

It almost feels a little bit pointless reviewing an Alice Snedden gig at this point – we should all know it’s going to be good.

It’s been a few years now since Snedden bounded onto the comedy scene, during which she has forged a career that can only be described as over-achieving. In this time, she’s been the head writer on TV3’s Jono and Ben, created and starred in her own TVNZ docu-comedy series Bad News, co-written the Basement Theatre Christmas show ‘Work Do’ – and I’m sure a whole lot more.

Having seen both of Snedden’s previous solo Comedy Festival shows, it was with a sense of nervous excitement I arrived at the Basement Theatre for her third – Absolute Monster. ‘Nervous’ excitement because surely you can’t make three excellent shows in a row? Turns out, you can.

In Absolute Monster, Snedden takes us on a journey through her existential crisis to try and answer the question of whether she’s truly a good person. Along the way, there are diversions into astrology, the pleasures of sleeping with rain noises, and her previous life of being a lawyer and living in New York – which I’m sure she’d want me to mention. But what makes the show so ultimately fulfilling is that it feels like it has a purpose. So often a comedian will give their show an enticing name and premise, and then spend an hour talking about irrelevant, meaningless things. Snedden manages to provide answers to questions, create a narrative, and leave the audience feeling they know her in a deeper way.

But beyond being just a TED talk, Absolute Monster is really, legitimately funny. Snedden’s a delight to watch on stage, exuding an abundance of confidence and charisma. She manages to find unique ways to deliver a punchline and make it continually unexpected, so that it comes at you like a slap in the fance.

I’m not sure this show quite reaches the heights of her previous two, but then again, she set herself an incredibly high bar. But for anyone on the fence about checking out Snedden for the first time – you should be scrambling for a ticket. She’s one of our best homegrown talents and I can’t wait to see what she does next.

Reviewed by Stewart Sowman-Lund.

4.5 stars

Alice Sneddon Absolute Monster is on at Basement Theatre in Auckland until 11th May and in Wellington 21 – 25 May at The Fringe Bar.