Review by Jaimee Beck
James Nokise speaks the truth, the hilarious uncomfortable truth, and nothing but the truth.
He speaks it in the words of a Samoan Minister, A ginger bro from Hamilton, and a kid gangsta from the Hutt. He speaks it in that meandering way that Kiwis talk about everything after three beersies at the pub. Only there’s no beersies, because he’s an alcoholic. Don’t make it awkward.
Awkward’s kind of the aim of James’ game though. Just like Talk A Big Game, God Damn Fancy Man is a well structured, comedic vehicle for addressing some serious issues. Suicide, racism, homophobia, Donald Trump. James covers the topics that makes us feel icky, but in a language so conversational and relatable that you don’t feel icky. In fact, you feel kind of warm and… comforted… and like maybe you should address your unconscious biases. It’s like your favourite aunt and your smart-ass mate got rolled into one and are teaching you how not to be a dick. (It’s joyfully simple actually.)
Speaking of relatives, Nokise’s eyebrows say more than a drunk uncle at Christmas dinner. Physically animated, James strolls through some pretty dark territory with wild eyed enthusiasm. His energetic ease and fluid performance disguise a script cleverly built on rhythm and repetition. He knows his audience and we love it. We sing back at him, laugh with him and revel in the utter Kiwi-ness of him. His stories are our stories.
Having been reminded of some of the great inequalities of the world I still left God Damn Fancy Man feeling uplifted. I’d been entertained. I’d been educated. I’d learned more about myself and my culture than I expected to while laughing. If you feel like an hour of irreverent storytelling laced with some no frills modern day wisdom go see James Nokise. He’s a funny guy.
What: God Damn Fancy Man
Who: James Nokise
When: 21-25 May
Where: Basement Theatre – Studio