Pus Goose - Reviewed by Matt Jaden Carroll | Regional News Connecting Wellington

Pus Goose

Presented by: Brynley Stent

BATS Theatre, 14th May 2024

Reviewed by: Matt Jaden Carroll

Brynley Stent is a Billy T Award-winning comedian who you may recognise from Taskmaster NZ. Pus Goose is a… wait, what is a “pus goose”? It sounds like some sort of scary monster from a bizarre horror movie. Well, as it turns out, Pus Goose is a show all about fear and just how ridiculous it can be.

Perhaps this is technically a stand-up show, but right from the start it feels nothing like one. Unlike most stand-up comedy, Pus Goose has a subtle theatrical atmosphere, evoking the nostalgia, light horror, and wonder you might associate with a Stranger Things episode. Stent’s NZ International Comedy Festival show is introduced and contextualised through the world of a spooky childhood board game. Using the game, she bouncily guides us through the dark glowing realms of her silliest fears – and with each one, we jump through a portal into an absurd tale from her life.

Pus Goose seems to be what happens when a rambunctious theatre kid insists on doing stand-up comedy. As a result of this collision, Stent breaks free from many of the limitations associated with the format. While she tells stories, impressions and sketches become highlights rather than asides, and it’s all richly decorated with infographics, videos, voiceovers, sound effects, and lighting.

The atmosphere may suggest a more serious show – but to be clear, the content ranges from quizzing the audience on the sex appeal of Cadbury Yowies, to a riveting impression of an office printer. Stent is upbeat, joyfully chaotic, and wildly expressive. She’s like that one friend who just has to act out stories for you – except this time, the friend is hilarious and armed with a special effects department.

Overall, Pus Goose successfully combines effects and immersion with the stand-up experience of laughing among your mates. Stent goes beyond expressing herself with the content of her work to express herself with the medium too. Unfortunately, now my next conversation is going to feel woefully incomplete without slideshows and sound effects.

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