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One Kiwi, One Aussie, One Hour

Friday, 20 August, 2010

Two Halves

Edinburgh 2010 – Globe – 5-29 August­­ 2010 – 14.15 (1:00)

One Kiwi, One Aussie, One Hour is a comedy show of two halves featuring the stand-up talents of the eponymous antipodean countries.

First up is James Nokise, a New Zealand-based comic who swiftly reveals he is actually half Samoan and half Welsh.  This tees up his 30 minute act, themed around heritage and racism, perfectly.

Whether it is the slightly quaint “blanket racism” of many British people, a grandmother’s occasionally “lovely racism”, or the “gourmet racism” of an Australian redneck telling a confused aborigine to go back to where he came from, most of the material is delivered with a lightness of touch which means it never appears confrontational or aggressive.  This is a man who is not so much angry at racist attitudes as befuddled at the pointlessness of it all.  He illustrates this with bigoted incidents faced by both himself and his family in a deeply personal routine.  There are still plenty of laughs in the thoughtful 30 minutes though, most memorably when a big-name movie director gets it in the neck for casting by skin-colour rather than talent.

There’s a slight lull when he begins some more pedestrian material about the exploits of the New Zealand football team in the recent World Cup, but the memory of this weaker segment is quickly forgotten when he arrives at more personal revelations about his own family and girlfriend.  He likes the irony that his grandfather, who sold guns to apartheid South Africa, became a Samoan “native’s” father-in-law, while the reason for his father leaving Cambridge University after a day is as shocking as it is entertaining.

He finishes on a bit of a low with some slightly dubious material about domestic violence, but by this time he’s proved himself as a likeable performer with an easy rapport and confident delivery.

The Kiwi then hands over to Aussie Rich Brophy for the weaker half of the show.  The fresh-faced comic launches off with some “Aussie facts”, painting his nation as a land of lazy racist homophobes who lie on beaches and take their sport far too seriously.  It’s a promising start with a particularly barbed, if maybe apocryphal, tale about the Australian Prime Minister commentating on a game of cricket and unwittingly reinforcing all the negative stereotypes of his own country.

Sadly it’s all downhill from this point, with hackneyed skits on Scottish weather and improving technology – the fact that razor companies relish putting more blades on their products is not one that needs any more dissection.

He sometimes comes up with some lovely turns of phrase, as when the purchase of a new laptop provides him with “enough porn to cripple a bear”, but these are few and far between and can’t disguise the scattershot nature of his topics.  A line about wanting to change the world but not being able to change the tracks on an iPod is promising but he ignores the comic possibilities and, instead of expanding on a theme, trots out over-familiar thoughts on drugs, religion and TV talent shows.

He ends with a particularly cynical riff on global warming which exemplifies this unlikeable and abrasive performance.

Cast Credits (alpha order): Rich BrophyJames Nokise

Company Credits: Company – Anzac Productions.  Promoter – PBH’s Free Fringe.

(c) David Hepburn 2010

Reviewed Friday 13 August

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