FRINGE '04 REVIEW: Benjamin Crellin
"Benjamin Crellin has been nominated for the Billy T James Comedy Award four times. At his recent show “At Wit’s End” for the New Zealand Fringe Festival 2004, Crellin made it clear that it’s only a matter of time till he wins."
Slick Stand-Up Comedy from Benjamin Crellin
Four stars = Impressive
Reviewed by Nicola Hill
Where: BATS Theatre
When: 24-28 February
FRINGE '04: Benjamin Crellin @witsend
Benjamin Crellin has been nominated for the Billy T James Comedy Award four times. At his recent show “At Wit’s End” for the New Zealand Fringe Festival 2004, Crellin made it clear that it’s only a matter of time till he wins. At Wit’s End is the “first of many festivals and the start of an epic journey to fringes far and wide”.
The crowd needed a very good reason to brave Wellington’s foulest weather and the frenzied crowds of the opening weekend of the New Zealand Festival of the Arts – and using Crellin’s own opening gag - “fate has a funny way of giving you what you want”. “Summoned to work by a spotlight”, Crellin stepped from the darkness and quickly sold the crowd the hour of slick “stand-up comedy, laughter, satire, and social comment” that he promised.
Crellin is a veteran of stand-up comedy in New Zealand and a highly skilled craftsman. His observations on life are smart and his deadpan delivery is perfectly executed. He taps into the main vein of New Zealand culture – the national pastimes of self-deprecation and knocking Americans, evangelical Christians and New Zealand celebrities (including an hysterical impersonation of Paul Holmes as Gollum holding onto his precious position as the nation’s top broadcaster).
Crellin is a classy crowd pleaser and he has room to grow. For the most part, he steers clear of the material that is higher risk – relationships, race or even ordinariness and what it’s actually like to be Benjamin Crellin – and he projects a black-suited cool persona to assure his status. We only get glimpses of what he can do without the controls on, and lapses into the weirder terrain of his mind and body. The hedgehog at the end of his set was one of those moments and the best of the show.
This show is recommended as smart, reliable comedy for a younger crowd. Make sure you catch Crellin if you get the chance.