Fringe Review: This Time Next Year
This Time Next YearReviewed by Lorraine Ward
This Time Next Year
Matt Elliott, Alex Hawley, Mike Bodnar
Feb 28, Mar 1 & 2
$15 / $12 / $10
The Paramount (Bookings: 04 384 4080)
Watching stand-up comedy, sitting in comfortable blue plush armchair seats. How different is that! At least the lighting is simple, and there is no scenery.
Mike Bodnor, Matt Elliott and Alex Hawley. Three nice, goofy, guys. I'll spoil the surprise ending right now and reveal they are three nice, goofy, very funny, guys. Let me tell you about it. Unfortunately, I won't be as funny as they are, because I can't reveal all their punch lines.
The three meander on-stage and set up the premise that they are rehearsing a show for the 2007 Fringe Festival. Hence the title 'This Time Next Year.' A nice move. Any mistakes in timing or material can be blamed on the fact that this is a trial, not the real thing. There is a list of possible topics. Each is to test out twenty minutes of material on each other and an imaginary audience (that's us).
Alex Hawley goes first. The youngest of the trio, his deadpan whimsy deals with his time in hospital, reviews of recent movies, and his experiences in the Wellington dating scene. I'm pleased that the current man-drought means that he now has an imaginary girl friend.
We move on to veteran Matt Elliott. He's a sublime storyteller of the ridiculous. Whether he's dealing with the city council checking out a children's tree house for resource consent (Where are the fire extinguishers? The wheelchair access?), the threatening behaviour of charity collectors, or bus travelling as an Olympic sport, he and his audience feed off their mutual enjoyment of the material and each other.
Last is Mike Bodnar, Liverpudlian and suave lover of words. This man goes in for serious and stunning punning. "Lee Tamahori" is an anagram of "a male to hire". Bodnar reads an unexpurgated version of 'Thomas the Tank Engine', complete with sex and violence, and brings Albert Einstein, Barbie, Adolf Hitler and several other flawlessly executed accents together for his finale.
I was highly impressed by this work in progress. I can't wait to see what they do with it 'this time next year'.