The NZ International Comedy Festival has barely begun and here I am once again making my way to the Cellar at Q Theatre on a pleasant Friday evening. The temperature had cooled a little, a mild 18ºC as there had been some rain, but just little trickles, and nothing that could put a stain on what was essentially to be an hour spent indoors checking out some amazing Kiwi comedy.
It was a later hour, 10pm, as I prepared to watch Guard Down, Inosi Colavanua‘s first hour of comedy. The later time had brought in a looser more imbibed (read pretty loose) crowd, I was interested in how this element would be handled by the comparatively new comic. The room was standard fair for a night of pure comedy, a stool, a mic and a bottle of water.
Inosi came out to some energetic Hip Hop music, raising the energy of the room immediately. Energy was an element he played a lot with during the show, content to casually banter with the audience, and examine his own publicity material.
In Guard Down, Inosi opens the door to his life and history. He revealed details of his childhood as a Fijian at school in New Zealand, his more conservative upbringing in a family of Destiny Church goers and his more recent woes in the dating game.
Inosi managed to control the energy of the room, effectively corralling the more imbibed members of the audience throughout the proceedings and at some points even using it to his advantage, with a cheeky off the cuff remarks that quickly put them in their place. He had a great variety in tone during the show, starting with lighter material about his childhood and recent trip to the states, but wrapping up with a touching story about a date gone wrong.
Inosi has been on quite a few people’s “one to watch” list since 2016, when he was runner up of the RawQuest competition. I would say he’s well living up to expectations and while it’s quite early into the Fest, I’m not against calling Guard Down one of the ‘hidden gems’ of this year’s comedy fest – the show more than earns the praise. Inosi’s ability to play with energy and expectations is a joy to watch, as is his casual manner and sharp material.
People who enjoy revealing comedy, that can be both hilarious and vulnerable will no doubt enjoy this show – book your tickets as fast as you can!
What: Guard Down
Who: Inosi Colavanua
When: 27 – 28 April
Where: The Cellar at Q Theatre
- Energetic performance
- Equal parts hilarious and vulnerable
- Effortless crowd work