Let It Out
Written and performed by James Nokise
The Fringe Bar, 5th May 2021
Reviewed by: Sam Hollis
James Nokise put a mirror up to our own ridiculousness on Wednesday night, breaking down all the comical madness we saw throughout 2020. His intoxicating energy emits infectious good vibes from the word go, and our captivated audience couldn’t wipe the smiles from their faces for the entire hour.
Let It Out shines a light on all the emotional, silly, and downright peculiar behaviour Nokise observed over the past year, starting at the beginning, when he decided to return to New Zealand to surprise his dad for his birthday… for a week. 400 days later, he’s still here, watching on as New Zealand gets weirder and weirder. There’s our outrage at the result of the cannabis referendum, our unwarranted infatuation with Ashley Bloomfield, and our collective insanity whenever Slice of Heaven plays over a loudspeaker, amongst many other gems.
While Nokise’s natural energy and enthusiasm is responsible for getting us onboard, what truly sustains us is his refined approach to the written word. He knows that in order to wring laughs from us, it’s crucial that we first grasp the premise of each bit. His confident and emotive delivery is always clear and to the point, allowing him to plunge as deep as he likes into any given topic knowing we’re right there with him.
Another of the comedian’s abilities is his character work, which is on full display tonight. Nokise can, at a moment’s notice, transform his voice and mannerisms, inviting a sudden shift in tempo that injects an added dose of hilarity. His impression of Bloomfield is so spot on I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to watch a COVID-19 press conference the same way again.
Transitions from bit to bit are silky smooth, but the rapid-fire pace of the set leaves us in the lurch at times. Sometimes we’re still recovering from one joke as another begins, and a tad more breathing room would give the show definition. Although, this is but a nitpick in an otherwise flawless night of comedy.