Words Glenn Blomfield

Once again its time for The NZ International Comedy Festival. Opening night was a busy affair, with hordes of people catching the first shows, I made way to Emma Newborn at the Basement theatre. The intimate space was at near full capacity. The evening was a 50 minute show, not stand up, but a one-person acted comedy theatre. Emma took on the role of our protagonist Coral, and like the living growing underwater organism, there is more that meets the eyes, she has a lot to offer, but yet, needing to be understood.

Just like a Richard Attenborough discovery documentary, we have a microscopic view of the strange and wonderful life that is Coral. We view her life as a day at the office, a lonely receptionist working for a carpet underlay company. Coral idolises her boss Brian. The day is building up to a big business product carpet underlay demonstration. The only problem is Coral is left to run the show, and that naturally doesn’t bode well. The show is all about Coral and the build up to its apocalyptic style ending.

Emma Newborn has fabricated a slow build show, quirky and patient, its comedic nuances accented with subtle growth climaxing into comedy anarchy. The general audience were laughing along, enjoying Coral. For me it was a slower burn, there were a few ‘laugh out moments’, that smacked of comedic cleverness, but what really won me over was its passive pace to a manic ending. Coral throws it out there, her explosive energy a laugh riot finish.

Overall the show works as an enjoyable experience, it is more on the quirky, oddball side of comedy, where things go laugh out loud. You just have take the ‘Coral’ ride to get there. Emma Newborn is showing signs of being a shining bright light in NZ comedy.