Kura Forrester is very quickly becoming one to watch on the New Zealand comedy scene. Nominated for a Billy T Award this year, and the highlight of last year’s Basement Christmas show Work Do it should come as no surprise that her new hour of comedy is a delight.
In Kura, Shoulda, Woulda, Forrester has the freedom to spend 60 minutes talking largely about herself. It’s an honest, affectionate hour of stories that range from the plain funny to just the surreal. It’s worth buying a ticket for the final anecdote alone, which involves a Pizza Hut and Sonny Bill Williams.
However, while it’s a show largely consisting of stories, Forrester manages to distinguish herself from other storytellers at the Comedy Festival by incorporating her immense talent for improv and characters. Every story she tells comes with a fully fleshed out character. It means that by the end of the night, it hasn’t really just been an hour about herself after all.
While she remains the centre of attention, Forrester paints a delightful picture of her family, friends and others – past, present and future. She has an incredible talent for observation, reflected in characters that are relatable or at least incredibly recognizable caricatures of New Zealand.
However, I found that some character sequences went on a bit too long, and it did seem like a largely rehearsed performance. On a couple of occasions, it seemed like a joke got pushed on beyond where it was funny. It’s a minor complaint, considering how enjoyable it is to spend in Forrester’s company, and last night’s sold-out 8.30 crowd truly lapped up every word she said. She also manages to perfectly capture the zeitgeist surrounding race relations using a… pizza? That’s nothing short of impressive.
While I don’t have the objectivity of having watched all of this year’s Billy T nominations, I’m certain that whether or not Kura Forrester wins or not on Sunday night we’ll be seeing a lot more from her. Kura, Shoulda, Woulda is the show of someone who knows their talents and how to use them.
Reviewed by Steward Sowman-Lund.
Kura Forrester, Kura Shoulda Woulda is on at the Basement Theatre until 25 May.