In the four years since winning the Billy T Award, Angella Dravid has rapidly become one of New Zealand's most recognisable comedians. After appearances on Jono and Ben, Golden Boy, Creamerie, and, most notably, Taskmaster NZ – which she won – there are few local shows she hasn't shown up on yet.
One of Dravid's most notable characteristics that comes out often in panel shows or in lineups is her awkward, shy delivery, which has helped make her stand out against some of the larger than life figures in local comedy.
Given that, I wasn't expecting such an emphasis on the Meet and Greet at the beginning of her latest hour, Stories for Adults. Dravid seems to have shed that side for most of the show, confidently trading kindly barbs with the audience and effortlessly improvising jokes that ended up being among her best of the night.
Moving into the main belly of the show, Stories for Adults focuses mostly on Dravid's time spent working in advertising after her mum was diagnosed with cancer. What the two had to do in common was never explicitly made clear, one of the many examples of the relaxed approach Dravid had to filling in the blanks.
Yet while a lot of the stories never had a conclusion, Dravid more than compensates by barrelling through a gloriously unstructured assembly of jokes. There's a PowerPoint show featuring ads that were rejected from her job; there's a notebook she uses to read out Aesop Fable-style stories; there's stand-up around her time spent in the same prison as Rosemary West.
It is an eclectic mix, but the randomness of the show adds to the comedy as Dravid skips between her childhood and adult years. It's a vibe that wouldn't work if you had never seen Dravid before, but even having just the vaguest idea of her style helps you relax into the chaos and enjoy the comedy as it comes.
The show went past very quickly – Dravid reached the end of her set after about 40 minutes before opening the floor to questions. There seemed to be a lot of time planned for questions, which would have worked better if the audience had something to ask. Dravid was quick in her responses to everyone, and it was impressive seeing her play with the crowd and keep the vibe friendly, while divulging more about her personal life – particularly around her ex-husband.
It allowed for more of her sense of humour, but I wish the show had been longer just so there was more of Dravid's unique comedy to enjoy. And that's no criticism – Dravid is such an unique comic and an utter joy to watch perform that no matter how long her set is, you just want it to keep on going.
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What: Stories for Adults, Angella Dravid
Where: Q Theatre until May 15