While they may not be major players on the New Zealand comedy scene yet, in their promotional material, Laser Kiwi peg themselves as "the world's best and only surreal sketch circus troupe".
It's a bold claim to make, doubled by an intriguing premise that stands out amongst a packed festival, and despite having missed their raved about original show, I was keen to catch their second production, the aptly titled Laser Kiwi #2.
The tone of the show is set beforehand, with traditional 3-D glasses and a programme presented upon arrival at the Q Theatre. While it initially feels strange to get a programme at a comedy show, the trio explain early on it's so people don't get lost completely in the surreal madness they are about to present.
Yet the most surreal the show gets is using olives as the central recurring gag during the show, right from the opening bit where one little green fruit starts rising majestically from a jar. It's appropriate given the show's general vibe of a swish cocktail party – all three are initially dressed in formal wear – though there's nothing else during the show to suggest that's the premise.
The regular appearances of olives are Laser Kiwi's biggest gag, which doesn't say a lot about the other elements of the show. There is a very funny sketch about a singing ant, and the show's programme proves to be vital to one of the shorter jokes, but for a show in the comedy festival, there wasn't a lot of jokes on offer.
Similarly, for a trio pegged as a circus troupe, there were only about three or four of the 19 sketches listed on the programme that would come under circus. There was a very impressive juggling act as well as some rap-infused aerial acrobatics, but there were the only major standouts and I was definitely expecting more circus to be worked into the show.
One trick in particular proved difficult to pull off, and dragged on to the point that when it was finally achieved, there was more relief than awe from the audience.
To be fair to Laser Kiwi, a lot of the crowd seemed to be enjoying themselves. It certainly was entertaining at the time, but after leaving the theatre it kind of all drifted away, nothing standing out as overly memorable.
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The show adds some nice variety to a festival packed with stand-up, but by trying to balance both sketch and circus in one show, neither element of Laser Kiwi's fringe-esque performance stood out. Laser Kiwi #2 has its moments but ultimately feels like a first draft.
What: Laser Kiwi #2
Where: Q Theatre until May 8