Review: 'Aunty' makes you feel like whanau

Johanna Cosgrove in 'Aunty'. Photo: supplied
Johanna Cosgrove in 'Aunty'. Photo: supplied

No scabs! No narks! No traitors! This is the family motto that Aunty gets her audience (or should I say her whanau) to chant during a one woman comedy performance at the Fortune Theatre.

Upon walking in and taking a seat every single member of the audience is hugged and receives an awkward cheek kiss (just like your real Aunty does it) and in that moment you become part of the family. Then solo performer Johanna Cosgrove drags an unwitting young man up on stage for an interrogation that probably made him wish he'd just stayed in that night. Needless to say the rest of the audience found his pain truly hilarious, and laughed along as the poor guy was subjected to intimate questions, snide comments and open ridicule. This really sets the tone for the next hour of the show which is filled with ironic jibes aimed at everyone in attendance.

This is a show that sets out to make you think about your relationship with your own family. With minimalistic set design (a plastic table in the middle of an empty stage, laden with a packet of Tim Tams, a pavlova, and six bottles of white wine) the audience has the opportunity to imagine a familiar home where their own wacky relatives might congregate. Odd family traditions and farfetched tales about noble heritage make this relatable in a very funny way.

Aunty was named the winner of Best Comedy at the Auckland Fringe Festival in 2017, and Cosgrove has just finished up playing seasons at Auckland's Basement Theatre and Wellington's BATS Theatre. She is a comedian who knows how to tell a story where you don't see the punch line coming, and the rough around the edges Aunty character she plays allows her to deliver some truly irreverent and unexpected comedy. This show could be called a bit of a shock to the system but that shock-value ultimately seems to be working in Aunty's favour.

 

 - by Jessica Howard

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