Words Oliver Smith
It was a pleasant Friday evening as I made my way to the Cellar at Q Theatre once again, the temperature was a mild 18ºC, 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.
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 crowd, I was interested in how this element would be handled. 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, managing to control the more imbibed members of the audience, at some points even using it to his advantage, with a cheeky off the cuff remark. 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 might even say that Guard Down might be one of the ‘hidden gems’ of this year’s comedy fest. Inosi’s ability to play with energy and expectations is a joy to watch.
People who enjoy revealing comedy, that can be both hilarious and vulnerable will enjoy this show.