Paul Williams: Santa Fe

The jig is up! Paul Williams is a quadruple threat – song, dance, comedy and opinion. The self proclaimed “most opinionated comedian in New Zealand” does it all in his show Santa Fe.

Brimming with that classic laid back Kiwi charm

Brimming with that classic laid back Kiwi charm, Williams is able to let us into his mind and transport us to the Wild West. 1882 Santa Fe to be exact, complete with cowboy hats, tumble weed, shoot-outs and a love story fit for a cheesy John Wayne western.

What starts off as a standard comedy show really starts to pop off when Williams storms backstage to have a sibling inferiority-fuelled existential crisis. The show goes off on a strange tangent, turning into a search for the perfect heckle comeback. It’s no longer about setups and punchlines, instead it diverges to inner monologues, time travel and arguing with shadowy depictions of more successful brothers. But the gunslinger slips out from under his brother’s shadow before our eyes, using a projector and clicker as his main weapon.

Though it sounds confusing and perhaps too much for an audience to follow, on stage, it really isn’t. Williams is supremely talented in dragging the audience along for a meta-cognitive ride without any of the irony being lost on them. He deftly combines several elements from different disciplines and mediums without missing a beat.

The only thing that lets the performance down (and perhaps it’s part of Williams’ schtick), is that he seemed a bit restless to start. The performance takes a little bit too long to settle and feels a bit scattered. In saying that, the way the show comes together is hugely impressive and it’s one that will keep you smiling throughout the day.

With Santa Fe, Paul Williams has established himself as one to watch out for, especially if you’re his older brother.

Reviews by Jim Ralley

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The Blurb

Best Newcomer nominee, Melbourne International Comedy Festival 2018. Cast your mind to a magical place called Santa Fe. Now snap out of it because that's the show's setting and you haven't bought a ticket yet so stop getting free enjoyment. Last year I lost a major comedy award in New Zealand. This year, I'm getting back up on the horse and setting off on the adventure of a lifetime. 'Responsible for one of the greatest songs ever' (David O'Doherty). ‘Beautiful and endlessly endearing' ( ‘Paul is my favourite New Zealand artist' (Lorde). ‘Enviably talented' (Nish Kumar).