What: An Evening with Deb Filler.
Where: The PumpHouse, Takapuna, until Saturday.

Opening with the walking-blues of a Kiwiana-soaked homecoming ballad, An Evening with Deb Filler takes us on the international odyssey of a hard-working comedian who is eternally searching for a better gig and somehow finds her soul in a Fort Lauderdale retirement village.

The journey highlights Filler's remarkable oral gymnastics that see her creating an ever-expanding multitude of characters who are all instantly identified by their accents or their mannerisms.

Equally impressive is the story-telling talent by which chance encounters and the most mundane details are transformed into hilarious anecdotes that slowly coalesce into a compelling narrative.

The international road-trip treats us to a number of fascinating diversions.

After an amusing debate between a producer with an eye for the bottom line and an artist trying to protect her integrity, our hero is lured to Miami on the promise of a lucrative contract.

Here Filler is unable to spot the difference between people's faces and their crocodile-skin handbags. She finds herself performing to an ever-diminishing audience suffering from Alzheimer's and chronic flatulence. But it is in this unlikely setting that the show reaches its life-affirming epiphany.

Although there is little overtly Jewish humour, the interns of Florida's gated communities begin to resemble the peasants of an East European shtetl, with bitterly ironic self-deprecation, and the self-fulfilling expectation of disappointment.

Inspired by the words of an ancient fellow comedian, Filler discovers that her dream of the perfect comedy venue can be realised in the immediate here-and-now interaction with her audience.

This revelation leads to the perfectly pitched delivery of an explosively funny punch-line, and the show concludes with a Yiddish rendition of Joe Cocker's Feeling Alright that will melt the heart of the stoniest critic.