Nic Sampson – Has Fallen Down A Well

By Elyce Phillips Nic Sampson photo

Nic Sampson is a New Zealand-based comedian. He’s worked in TV, performed with improv group Snort, and this MICF, he has fallen down a well for our amusement. Has Fallen Down A Well  combines concept comedy with traditional stand-up in an ambitious 50 minutes that provides plenty of laughs.

The first part of the show is fairly traditional. Sampson walks onto the stage, adorned with a minimalist set that gives the idea of a well. There’s some stones, and a bucket attached to a rope which goes up to the ceiling. Upon finding a microphone in the bucket, Sampson launches into a stand-up set.

Sampson’s stand-up persona is jovial and fun to watch. The topics covered are fairly familiar – relationships, neighbours, growing-up – but Sampson is a skilled comic and his takes are fresh and very funny. His material about a holiday in York is particularly great, going into detail about the wonders of a 5-D cinema.

Through the first two-thirds of the show there are nods to the well conceit – little echoing sound cues of punchlines as they bounce around the tall stone walls – but it really comes to the fore in the final minutes, where the concept is returned to with more vigor. This section is hilarious, but it feels quite separate to the earlier stand-up. The idea is wonderfully weird, but it could have been integrated through the stand-up section more fluidly.

There’s an issue with sound pollution the whole way through the show, which is unfortunate. Whatever’s on upstairs is loud and in the quieter moments of Sampson’s show, the music leaking through is distracting. Sampson does his best with the situation, addressing it at the top of the show and then not allowing it to detract from his performance for the remainder.

Nic Sampson has produced an interesting show in Has Fallen Down A Well. It’s confident stand-up with a little something extra, and it’s terrific to see someone playing around with the format in this way.

Nic Sampson – Has Fallen Down A Well is on at the Tuxedo Cat until April 22