Joanna Hunkin is the Head of Entertainment and Lifestyle for NZME.

Prank tales funny but a little long

As a professional comic, Charlie Pickering is a bit of a joker.

But the curly-haired Australian's got nothing on his dad, Ron, or his dad's best mate, Richard.

They are jokers extraordinaire, as you will discover in Pickering's hour-long show Impractical Jokes.

On his previous visits here Pickering has enlisted the help of multimedia presentations and other props as he covered all manner of topics.

This year's set is much more pared back, with only a microphone for company as he recounts the saga of a 10-year war between Ron and Richard.

A war during which appendages (well, an eyebrow) were lost and various pieces of property destroyed and which resulted in Ron declaring a family edict that the Pickerings were never to holiday again, for fear of leaving their home open to attack.

It's a great yarn that delivered plenty of laughs as Pickering animatedly re-enacted the various battles - including a particularly silly, but very funny, conversation with a parking meter. A French parking meter, at that.

But sustaining a story for a full hour has its drawbacks and at times the laughter stalled as Pickering explained the detailed background behind each prank.

It also limited the scope for off-the-cuff humour and topical jokes, which Pickering has delivered in spades in earlier shows.

Still, the ever-amiable Pickering did manage to squeeze in some banter with the front row - giving a certain best-selling author (who claimed her name was "Skippy" but was actually Nicky Pellegrino) a dressing down for trying to plug her new book during his set.

Those who appreciate the art of story-telling will be keen on Pickering.

And those who appreciate a good prank will love his father even more.


Who: Charlie Pickering (Australia) in Impractical Jokes.
Where: Herald Theatre.
When: 8.30pm, until Saturday.
Reviewer: Joanna Hunkin.

- NZ Herald

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