International Comedy Festival
Terry Alderton: You'll Be Glad To See The Back Of Him
San Francisco Bathhouse, till May 5
Reviewed by Simon Sweetman
British comedian Terry Alderton seemed to have trouble with the audience early on - he even announced that he was "livid", possibly at the small turnout, more likely at himself.
Then again you never quite know how far the act is stretching with Alderton. To reveal the techniques he uses is to give the game away for people who haven't seen this unique comic.
That said, Alderton bemoaned having an audience of first-timers who clearly weren't clued up to his act. Therein lies the issue - for some in the audience and for Alderton performing - with comedy-as-performance-art.
Alderton so often dazzles when he skips through accents, using physical comedy, mime and theatre of the mind to offer a form of surrealism that can leave people stunned or simply baffled.
There are rehearsed bits but the show feels spontaneous, it's impossible to predict what Alderton will do next - including when he will rely on his trade mark/gimmick of providing a commentary (in one of several voices) on how the main act is playing out.
This allows him to dig several comedic holes, to occasionally tunnel out and to apologise for any offence caused.
It's a clever device and one he now uses sparingly. I want to recommend Alderton - because I'm mostly sure that he is a genius. And because I believe he's an incredible entertainer. But the performance I saw was almost like watching a comedian die on stage.
We can be a tough audience for visiting comedians. We're impatient, we expect jokes too - every comic must tell a joke so that we can go to work and repeat it.
Alderton probably spat the dummy here - and far too early. It's hard to get an audience on side when you're angry at the ones who did turn up. But he not only used his own frustrations to propel the act, he made it out the other side. Alive. And possibly with a few new fans.
Terry Alderton perfoms until May 12, 7pm, at Rangatira at Q, Auckland.
More information at www.comedyfestival.co.nz
- © Fairfax NZ News
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