Rose Matafeo is Finally Dead

The initial conceit of this show is that we’re all present at the funeral for Rose Matafeo. This seems interesting enough, at the start, not to mention it’s probably one of the reasons a lot of people go to the show. Sadly however, the funeral conceit is only really made use of during the first five minutes of the show. It makes for an exciting entrance for Matafeo, and doesn’t have much else to do with the show.

An average show with a few funny moments

This might seem like an unfair criticism, given that Matafeo does talk about death for much of the show, but I would argue it is perfectly valid to say that the ‘funeral’ theme is underused and thus superfluous — mainly because Matafeo says very little about what she thinks is going to happen after she dies. Instead, she talks about how she’s afraid of dying, and about how we’re all going to die, and so on and so forth, but the show is less about “The Funeral of Rose Matafeo” than it is really “Rose Matafeo at a funeral.” This might seem like a small semantic difference and not a huge enough issue to really criticise, but in practice, during the show, the differences between what the show is billed as being about, and what it’s actually about, make a lot of the show feel off-topic and unfocused.

That is not to say that there is nothing funny in this show; there are definitely funny moments. The problem really is that so much of the show feels absolutely scattershot and haphazard. For example, during much of the show Matafeo seemed to do more ad-libbing than actual joke-telling, and this grew old in no time. She also went over-time at the end of the show, running over by about fifteen minutes. It seemed like she really couldn’t seem to find an end for the show, meandering and ad-libbing without direction rather than coming to a poignant conclusion.

Matafeo was often very loud and very energetic, but didn’t always have jokes to back up this energy. The highlights of this show are her karaoke moments. Perhaps she just comes out with too much energy and can’t sustain it. This is disappointing as an audience member, precisely because you have to sit through Matafeo struggling and failing to find an ending for her show. She made only a handful of jokes about funerals. A few toward the start and a few toward the end. Honestly, the gag at the beginning seemed only worthwhile because of the thrill of her leaping out of a coffin to start the show and landing on stage in a ‘vajazzled’ tuxedo. This was a fun entrance, but she does very little throughout the rest of the show to bring back that initial excitement. The closest that we get to it are her karaoke moments, which are fun but short-lived. There’s also the matter of her comedic foil, a guy who is basically a toy boy and only exists in the routine to fan her during an Aerosmith karaoke number. They engage in banter a handful of times during the show, but this feels painfully cringe-worthy because it is so obviously staged.

Overall, this is an average show with a few funny moments, but it’s lack of focus and lack of a solid ending really take the fun out of what might have been a collection of fun stand-up and singing. 

Reviews by chhewitt95

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The Blurb

Barry Award Best Newcomer nominee 2016 and Billy T Award winner 2013, Rose Matafeo puts the fun back into funeral with her debut show. Unhappy with the fact she won't be around for the best celebration of her life, Rose is giving herself the send-off she deserves while she's still on earth. Sell-out show at the New Zealand and Melbourne International Comedy Festivals. As seen on Jono and Ben at Ten (TV3, NZ), writer and star of Funny Girls (TV3). 'Genre-transcending comedy theatre masterpiece' (Metro, NZ). ‘Hilarious. Original. A must-see.’ (TheatreReview.org.nz). ***** (DailyBlog.co.nz).

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