Stand-up comics take fun to a new high

CHARLIE GATES
Last updated 09:42 22/01/2013
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KIRK HARGREAVES/FAIRFAX NZ

POTENTIAL: Guy Williams is climbing the stand up learning curve.

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IMPRESSIVE: Urzila Carlson is developing into a top-class stand up comedian.

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The World Buskers Festival 2013

Sammy J & Randy 'absurd, funny and very slick' Buskers critics' choice to be revealed tomorrow The boy with danger as a name Trick of the trade an eye-opener Stand-up comics take fun to a new high Busker brings hijinks to the Square Bingo with bells on top 'Yes' the answer to dance proposal Festival today, the world tomorrow Le Gateau Chocolat 'captivating'

REVIEW: In stand-up comedy, experience is everything.

Nothing But Stand Up has a wide range of experience on display in its bill of four excellent comedians.

They range from relative newcomer Guy Williams to Australian comedian Lindsay Webb, whose ease on stage and quick wit can only have been won by putting in some serious hours behind the mic.

Then there is Urzila Carlson, who is developing into a top-class stand up comedian, despite only taking to the stage about five years ago.

Carlson hosted the evening with a whole slate of strong new material, impressive for a comedian who was on the bill for this show just last year.

She has a relaxed and conversational way about her that puts the audience at ease and leaves them ready to laugh at her self-deprecating wit.

In contrast, Guy Williams is a bundle of potential, but needs to put in a few more hours. His television pranks are impressive and his self-reflexive stand-up comedy has real promise, but his inexperience on stage sometimes shows in a slightly faltering delivery.

I look forward to watching him grow as he climbs the stand up learning curve.

At the other end of the spectrum, Lindsay Webb strode on to the stage with a grin and the knowledge that, no matter what the audience throws at him, he will be able to handle it.

He paced the stage, riffing with members of the audience, piling one joke on top of another and spinning it with improvisational wit, callbacks and punchlines. It was very impressive.

Often, asking audience members about their life is an easy fallback, but Webb turns audience-baiting into an art form.

Felicity Ward rounded out the bill with a perfectly paced stand up routine. It covered everything from the insufferable smugness of Mary Poppins to walking on rain- slicked cobbles in high heels. Her routine travelled a perfect arc to its climax, ending on a big laugh.

It feels like New Zealand has experienced a renaissance in stand up comedy over the past few years. This show, with its strong showing of local talent, has taken perfect advantage of that resurgence.

Nothing but Stand Up, World Buskers Festival. The Big Top, Hagley Park. 7.30pm every night.

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