NOTHING IN HER PERFORMANCE IS WASTED
NZ International Comedy Festival 2012|
ROSE MATAFEO in SCOUTS HONOUR
at Tararua Tramping Club, Mt Victoria, Wellington
5 May 2012
Reviewed by Maraea Rakuraku, 6 May 2012
Mandolin-playing, cool sweater-wearing, former head girl. Boom. That's Rose Matafeo. It's refreshing to listen to a female comic who isn't all about periods or resorts to the ever-present, just not very original, cock humour.
That isn't to say, I don't think she can bring it. I'm sure she can. I just don't want to see a 20 something, brown girl resorting to that, not when she can utilise her obvious – er – impression skills. Ok, maybe not. Matafeo is shit at impressions.
Even so, Liam Nesson in Star Wars is a crack up and Nicholas Cage is scarily accurate. She's clever. She's prepared with index cards, audience participation gifts and sheets of photocopied kittens. I do suppress an inner eye roll on that one. Please don't be all cuteness and light. While, it takes her a bit to settle into Scout's Honour, once she's there. She's away.
The show relies on a thinking audience familiar with popular culture, but not overly so. I'd even go so far as to say this is a generational and – due to the minimal swearing – family friendly gig. She says out loud those things that at some time have gone through your mind. Well, they have through mine. She's right: who doesn't want to be the sassy best friend in a rom com?
At one stage I feel like I am watching a live version of the Bechdel test for film. At another I'm actually part of a hilarious self-help, feel-good, getting-to-know-you-but-without-the-religious-connotation church-type exercise. The Scouts/ Girl Guide badge-earning premise is refreshing, most of all because it isn't an ego trip. Involving the audience prevents it from that. Thank god.
Every now and then she drops in how she has denied her Samoan heritage for years and I suspect that just may be the material for a future act. I hope so. Her ability to deliver a story could create real magic there.
Matafeo aptly captures the dorkiness of a kid, teenager and young adult but without the hideous adorkable label. Please no Zooey Deschanel comparisons. She so kicks her into touch. She's generous and that's not just because she hands out badges – pickme pickme – to randoms in the audience.
Nothing in her performance is wasted and that's really the reason why Matafeo works as a comic. It all has purpose even the supposed ramblings. A segue into a love for lists has an effect on the females in the audience that, I have no doubt, stationary items would too.
I know that it's gone down well because afterwards a punter tells me Matafeo is her girl crush. What better way to end a gig then with an unrequited love song which is only spoiled by the mis-pronunciation of the subject's surname, though, that's easily corrected and Matafeo is clever enough to amalgamate that in as part of her upcoming denied heritage show (as mentioned above).
Overall it, and maybe Matafeo, needs time. Breathing space for the show and honing for the artist. Watching her develop into a world class comedian (remember she's only 20) is gonna be cool.
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