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

Snort With Friends

By Hannah FrazerSNORT with Friends

Walking into a dark room not knowing what is about to happen in front of you is scary, but sitting in the front row while it all unfolds is terrifying. This is not the case when you are in the company of the SNORT family though. From the get go the cast, which this particular evening consisted of (Eli Matthewson (MC), Nic Sampson, Donna Brookbanks, Guy Montgomery, Chris Parker, Laura Daniel, Rose Matafeo and Joseph Moore) relax you into their show, making you feel as though the words they are given, like some sort of magnificent, magical spell had been planted in your minds, and they had actually been practising the material for months. If you didn’t know it was improv, you wouldn’t know it was improv.

The show separated into 3 monologues and 3 sets. A nervous audience member will throw them a singular word and then you just sit back, relax and watch their minds explore the possibilities. They are miraculously able to bring life, colour and madness to the stage where just seconds before there was nothing. You see them delve into their subconscious to source personal anecdotes, stories and crazy characters at the drop of a hat. It really is something to behold.

All seasoned pro’s with their regular Friday night gig at ‘The Basement’ back in their homeland. As well as some having their own solo shows at the festival, they didn’t let the smaller than usual audience discourage them. The intimate nature of the night although not ideal didn’t diminish the size or scale of the laughs they received. All inherently quick thinkers, leaving the audience two steps behind and always delightfully surprised with where they would go next.

The comradely and mutual admiration of each other evident. Laughing and supporting one another when on the sidelines, seamlessly bouncing off one another or coming in to challenge and keep things interesting. You are able to sneak a glimpse into each of their uninhabited, wild and remarkable quick thinking minds and as the audience, we reap all the benefits of their madness.

Unlike a phone throwing Crowe, these are some New Zealander’s that we would be happy to claim as our own. This show only lasts until the 5th April, so make sure you don’t miss these honorary Aussies at the 6pm (6.15 Sunday) at the Portland Hotel.