May 20, 2013

Alexander Sparrow: One Night Stand

I looked forward to Alexander Sparrow’s comedy gig. I always enjoy hearing material a new comedian has to offer, and I was intrigued how Kitty O'Shea’s intimate venue would work for the show.

The gig was upstairs in the small, quaint space creating a comfortable and intimate setting. I think more comedians should perform here, as long as it is a small audience or it could easily become crowded.

Alexander Sparrow was clearly nervous at times, but had the support of his friends and family, taking up the majority of the audience (as he pointed out throughout the evening). He had a strong and confident stage presence most of the time and certainly doesn't have a problem with being the centre of attention. The first 15 minutes of the show was a stumble of words guiding us to shout and cheer as Alex introduced himself to a wave of applause. This could have worked better had he approached it with more clarity and confidence. The material he used flowed well, it was a shame that he lost his place, got distracted by his friends in the crowd, and repeated himself as much as he did. The polish will come with practice and make this a better show.

The set had me giggling at the local flavour focusing on student life, blanket man and the stereotyped bracket of Upper Hutt, poking fun at their toothless grins and lack of hygiene. Although it was a little harsh, it had the crowd entertained and I must admit brought a smile to my face also. Most of the material was nothing I hadn't heard before. It was aimed at a young, student based demographic. I would have loved to have heard a few quips that would appeal to a wider target market rather than countless tales about the supermarket job he hates, the theatre degree he is studying and how this adds nothing to society. One or two jokes about these topics would have been funny, but the show seemed to repeat itself, going back to a) he was a theatre student and b) he worked in a supermarket.

It grew a little tiresome by the end of the hour. The ending was definitely the highlight as nerves seemed to evaporate and Alex did a fantastic impersonation of a clubbing scene in Wellington. If this had been the opening, or the focus of his show, I would have been falling off my chair. Focusing on impressions is where his strengths lie. I hope to see a full set of his silly gyrating antics at a later date. I would certainly head along to see that!

I believe that practice and life experience only improve comedians’ material. Often a good set is built on a range of sketches the comedian has developed and tweaked over a number of years. With this practice I believe Alex will be a comedian everyone will be talking about. For his first hour show, I think he did well in such an intimate setting, and hope that he pursues this form of creative expression.  Keep up the good work Alexander Sparrow!

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