Review by Jesse Knight

Kiwi comedian Pax Assadi’s ‘Dialogue Matters was best summarised in his opening conversation with fellow comedian James Nokise, where Assadi assured Nokise that the show is about being vulnerable so that the audience can feel vulnerability.  The raw and brutally honest stories delivered by the six speakers took delivered on this premise, inviting the audience to peek behind the curtain of stand-up comedy and expose a very vulnerable place in the comedian’s lives.

From abortion to racism, to suicide, nothing was held back over the course of the 90-minute show. With each speaker delivering a gut-wrenching yet hopeful message which gave us six new lenses with which to see the world.

Far from your regular comedy festival show, this wasn’t a ruthlessly rehearsed routine, but rather something more akin to an impromptu storytelling series. Each speaker told a confronting story of a challenge they’ve faced, in an unpolished yet charmingly authentic way.

That being said, this is the New Zealand International Comedy Festival and there were still plenty of laughs to be had. The comedians’ wittily delivered anecdotes and off the cuff one-liners, left me sometimes struggling to know whether I should be laughing, crying or cringing.

It’s a bold show with an important message that pushes the norms of comedy. If you’re open to walking a mile in someone else’s jandals and having a laugh or a cry along the way, then this is the show for you. This is comedy that matters.

Dialogue Matters was made possible with support from the New Zealand Comedy Trust.

What: Dialogue Matters

Who: Various. Hosted by Pax Assadi.

When: 22 May

Where: Rangatira

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