Celebrity Trevor Island - Reviewed by Madelaine Empson | Regional News Connecting Wellington

Celebrity Trevor Island

Presented by: Ruff as Gutz

Directed by: Mia Oudes

Te Auaha, 21st Feb 2024

Reviewed by: Madelaine Empson

About five minutes into Celebrity Trevor Island, I whisper to my friend, “I get to write about this for a living”. I am, of course, grinning. Four improv performers – Em Barrett, Salome Bhanu, Dylan Hutton, and Eliza Sanders – are midway through strapping squeaky chicken toys to their feet with heavy-duty duct tape. Moments later, the clucky cacophony commences...

And they’re off! They dart, they dive, they dash around the chicken coop, dodging a dastardly, dangerous sheep! But it’s not a sheep, it’s a mute farmhand named Shithead (Anna Barker) in disguise! And she’s armed with a swimming noodle! Only at Fringe.

In Celebrity Trevor Island, created by Jeremy Hunt with second project lead Austin Harrison, Trevor (Hunt) is seeking a replacement for his less-than-satisfactory farmhand. Four candidates – collected from other New Zealand Fringe Festival shows – have shown up for an interview that turns out to be an unpaid job trial (classic). Onsite, they must complete a series of tasks, each more unhinged than the last. I don’t want to spoil too much, but there’s the pie-decorating contest, the cow-insemination challenge (the steaks are high for this one), and the Trev-ia round, which gives rise to some of the best lines of the night.

To Trev’s question, “What’s your favourite thing about Trevor”, Sanders responds, “You’ve got a tolerable aura”. She also accidentally impersonates a horse (classic). When asked “L&P or the A&P”, Hutton frantically bellows, “L&P at the A&P”, scoring (Mitre 10) mega points and laughs in the process.

Musician Ben Kelly tinkles on the keys to add to the atmosphere, but only sporadically and I want more. Bouncier music would also help to drive the action forward, as Celebrity Trevor Island does flounder round the mid-section. It’s a little Ruff around the edges, sure – but its Gutz are pure chaos and carnage and I’m not even sure I want to see a more polished version. With its unique format, electric host, and guest performers who go the whole hog, this hysterical show epitomises the spirit of the Fringe.

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