Sarah Harpur - Pants are for Losers and Other Theories
Wellington, The Fringe Bar, May15
I struggled with how to approach this review. I'd love to say Sarah Harpur's solid content was let down by her delivery, or vice versa, but quite frankly I don't know which aspect was weaker.
Harpur's Pants are for Losers and Other Theories was an "academic" presentation, wherein the lab coat-clad comic presented a series of "theses" on Mathematics, Religion, Science, Art, Public Policy and so on, aided by a PowerPoint presentation.
It could have been a good gimmick, but Harpur's comedy was about as far from brainy as it gets.
As she made fun of sexual harassment, Christians, old people, food allergies and people with ginger hair, I found myself wishing my 12-year-old brother was in the audience.
The "PC gone mad" crowd might have got a few cheap laughs, but for the most part Harpur's dumbed-down humour was just plain patronising.
This was aggravated by her performance, which brought to mind a ditzy, over-enthusiastic kids' TV presenter. Dry it was not.
She overtold every joke, even inserting a little "Yeah!", "Wooh!" and a fist-pump here and there as if to convince the audience they were actually enjoying themselves.
After a while, I tried imagining the lines written down, in case the onstage awkwardness was masking their brilliance. And I think there was some potential there.
But until Harpur loses the forced delivery and starts treating her audience like adults, I suggest you save yourself a pretty painful hour.
Sarah Harpur performs May 15 to 19 at the Fringe Bar, Wellington.
More information at www.comedyfestival.co.nz