Rhys Darby: Based On Actual Events
Show type: Edinburgh Fringe 2006
Based on Actual Events is a stand-up show with a difference. A huge difference. Rather than just telling stories, award-winning Rhys will re-enact them using his skills for physical theatre and his impressive array of human sound effects. This is a new show in which Rhys will for the first time reveal a selection of true stories from his youth which were indirectly responsible for his eventual destiny.
Kiwi Rhys Darby has worked the stand-up circuit well by littering his set with uncannily accurate sound effects. It's given him a gimmick that sets him out from the other white male comics with antipodean accents on the scene.
With this year's Edinburgh show, Darby charts his life story so far, beginning with the time at school where he realised he could first mimic well, pretty much any noise you can think of. He begins with a suitable demonstration of how he used to play war as a kid with all the Apocalypse Now-style noises from machine gun fire to helicopters.
Moving forward a few years he takes us through his calamitous first date ill-advisedly spent at a skating rink, considering he couldn't skate. Then there's a following unfortunate night down the disco where he had a second attempt at impressing the object of his fancy that results in the police taking him home and him joining the New Zealand army.
Darby's days spent in the armed forces are the funniest sections of the show. Clearly not cut out for the military, Darby, then a nerdy joker, bounces from one disaster to the next; thinking he's spotted a yeti in the woods and getting lost on the way back to camp.
The overall show is enjoyable though feels a little lacklustre in places though maybe this was due to the heat in the (one of the many) Pleasance Portakabins or just audience malaise.
Nevertheless there are sparks of brilliance to be found in the show, particularly as he rounds up by bringing his story bang up to date with the aid of a statue performance artist and an ejector seat.