The Comedy Festival offers so many twists on comedy in its traditional format that it almost feels refreshing to encounter a classic stand-up show; let alone one that manages to captivate and sustain the audience's attention over a full hour, hitting the same energy level with just a microphone that other shows reach via dramatic elements or musical embellishments.
Alice Snedden's Self-Titled: Volume II is one of those shows. It's a near-perfect hour of stand-up that's both an exhibition of a master of her craft, and an example of how comics can innovate within an existing format.
Snedden's delivery is quick and tightly focused, but she allows herself breathing room at certain moments – such as the way she handled late arrivals, which became one of her strongest early gags. She's clearly as comfortable working a crowd as she's ever been, with her jokes cleverly sculpted to seem effortless.
From talking uber ratings to primary school heirachies, Snedden's observations are fresh and exciting, particularly when she brings her family and politics to the centre. There's an incredible swipe at the muddled contradictions often spouted by male feminists, with one example that Snedden turns into a fantastic bit while politely avoiding saying the perpetrator's name.
Self-Titled: Volume II also has one of the best finales I've ever seen in a comedy show – it's worth buying a ticket alone to find out why Snedden had the whole crowd cheering and clapping in the last five minutes. It's the perfect send off to a show that proves Snedden has carved out a unique space for herself as a comedian in New Zealand.
Who: Alice Snedden
What: Self-Titled: Volume II
When: Until Saturday
Where: Basement Theatre