Aunty relative cringeworthy

Johanna Cosgrove assumes the character of the aunty that causes us to cringe. Photo: Linda Robertson
Johanna Cosgrove assumes the character of the aunty that causes us to cringe. Photo: Linda Robertson
It's an ode to the cask wine-drinking, cringeworthy, lovable women that bring vibrancy to our dinner tables.

Auckland-based comedian Johanna Cosgrove (25) said she based the character in her show Aunty on the broader sense of the word.

''It's friends of your mum and the lady down the road and stuff. It's based on a collection of amazing older women in my life.''

Ms Cosgrove's one-woman show won best comedy at the Auckland Fringe last year. The phrase ''more cooked than a Kaikohe P Den'' won her best line in a Kiwi play at the Auckland Theatre Awards the same year.

She describes Aunty as someone who, if you bought a boyfriend home, would ''put him straight on the grill''.

This is an experience Ms Cosgrove is very familiar with.

''When I was a teenager I bought a boyfriend home and my Dad, he was in the army, he'd set up on the table polishing machetes.''

''He was like: 'Yeah I just thought I'd bring these out'. I was like: 'What the hell, where are they from?' and he said: 'Jungle in Borneo'.''

She still felt bad for the boy.

Although Ms Cosgrove is Auckland-based, the character was definitely someone a southern crowd would be familiar with, she said.

''She's a real bogan. My Dad's from here. There are definitely a lot of references to Dunedin.''

The show takes place at a family barbecue and every audience member is a member of the family.

Aunty will be drinking her favourite beverage, a medium dry cask wine.

''If she's feeling povo she'll go Country, but mostly she'll go Chasseur.''

The show was interactive with the audience which was not for everyone, she said.

She describes the character as a ''bouffon'', which is a variation of clowning.

This is a concept Ms Cosgrove became familiar with when, while studying at at Toi Whakaari drama school in Wellington, she went on an exchange to Ecole Philippe Gaulier clown school, Paris.

''I think as a form I'm really interested in performance that's really live.''

She created the show partly because there was a lack of good parts for women in theatre and television.

Ms Cosgrove said yesterday was Aunty's birthday, a year since the first show at the Auckland Fringe. To celebrate she would likely get very drunk and eat some sausages, she said, and probably a Southland cheese roll.

Aunty is on tonight at 8pm at the Fortune Theatre, tonight and tomorrow night at 10pm at the Fortune Theatre Studio and tomorrow till Sunday at 6.30pm at 49 Walter St. Koha entry.


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