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AMUSINGLY SELF-EFFACING

Print Version

NZ Fringe Festival 2013
ALEXANDER SPARROW: Narcissistic Diva


at Fringe Bar, Cnr Cuba & Vivian, Wellington
From 22 Feb 2013 to 23 Feb 2013
[1hr 10mins]

Reviewed by John Smythe, 23 Feb 2013


The hyperbole of his introduction perches Alexander Sparrow atop such a tall, albeit imaginary, poppy that the only way is down. His methodical plucking of the petals in a ‘he loves himself; he loves himself not' game creates effective comic tension.

“There is special providence in the fall of a sparrow,” Hamlet tells Horatio in the graveyard. “If it be now, 'tis not to come; if it be not to come, it will be now; if it be not now, yet it will come – the readiness is all.”

Script-wise Sparrow is very ready but he hasn't yet mastered the art of making it sound spontaneous, nor of working the audience up and into his material so that it all seems mutually responsive. That timing will also come.

It was his father, he tells us, who gave him the title some years ago by calling him a narcissistic diva, and the way he speaks of that estranged relationship is a genuinely awkward moment in his otherwise amusingly self-effacing show.

In retrospect, ALEXANDER SPARROW: Narcissistic Diva could be seen as his means of telling his father he has ‘got it' and can laugh at his own pretensions. More generally, it joins a growing number of works wrought by a generation brought up to believe so utterly in their own wonderfulness, in the fantasy they can be anything they want to be, they need to get themselves into perspective (cf: Who's Neat? You! and HOME / The Hilarious Comedy About How I Nearly Killed Myself…).  

And it holds up the mirror we see our own self-image in too. 
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