Fringe Review: Joker's Guide to ArmageddonReview by Brenton Hodgson
Joker's Guide to
17-20 February, 7pm
Fringe Bar, Cnr Cuba & Vivian St
James Nokise's "Joker's Guide to Armageddon" is the sort of show that will appeal to anyone who enjoyed Saturday morning robot cartoons and superhero comic books as a child, or appreciates New Zealand's rich, though recent, fantasy history. He weaves an intricate web that links Japanese anime to Hercules to Jake the Muss and all stops between. The thread joining all of these elements is the annual celebration of geekdom, the "Armageddon" pulp culture expo.
He demonstrates these linkages through an amalgam of multimedia and standup comedy that was effective on the whole, but was plagued this evening by technical glitches. However, these led to one of the sweeter moments of the show when audience member and Billy T award nominee TJ McDonald assisted in resolving the issue. In an eerie moment of geekish unity, TJ's own copy of a Raymond E. Feist fantasy novel was offered to support a dodgy computer cable.
Nokise rose above the technical issues to establish an easy rapport with the audience that included an impromptu cartoon-themed song and dance number, a meta-analysis of geek culture through the eyes of its fans and many laughs.
The show pushed all of my 4th-degree nerd buttons and I found myself laughing along with most of the audience as Nokise painted vivid word pictures - supported by frankly disturbing photographs of past Armageddons. These highlight the strange under-culture that plays incomprehensible card games while dressed up in brightly-coloured, and occasionally much too small, costumes. No aspect of pulp culture was free from Nokise's insightful gaze, through which he sprinkled the much simpler and much more cutting analysis of his cousins and younger brother.
Technical issues aside, this show is a treat and will delight anyone who dabbles at the fringes of science fiction, fantasy or dressing in a leather and bronze bikini.