REVIEW: Edinburgh Fringe – Rhys Darby, This Way To Spaceship, Pleasance Grand

This review was originally written for and published by The Public Reviews

Public Reviews Rating: ★★★★★

Based on his “autobiographical space novel” This Way to Spaceship is Rhys Darby’s return to the Fringe after a three year sabbatical.

Waking up in the belly of a spaceship surrounded by robots, Darby endeavours to find out how he got here and in the process of this hour long show we are treated to: rubber bodied contortions; insane vocal effects; a lot of autobiography; some off the wall standup; a memorable dance routine to Rhythm is a Dancer; and, of course, dinosaur impressions.

The space theme becomes more and more tenuous as the show goes on, but quite frankly who cares? The audience certainly don’t – the warmth just radiates from Darby and the crowd respond in kind. He is at his absolute best in the high octane sketches where he gets to showcase his physical and vocal skills and in the moments of self-depreciation, which only make the crowd root for him more.

Flight of the Conchords is never mentioned by name but we are treated to some tantalising references to his famous alter ego Murray Hewitt, and the spaceship’s talking computer sounds remarkably like Jemaine Clement, something which doesn’t go unnoticed.

What this performance shows is that Darby has easily moved on from his Conchords days. There wasn’t an empty seat in this huge venue and with all the publicity about falling ticket sales this year, that says a whole lot. With good old fashioned charm, an explosion of energy and a ton of wit, this is a winner.

Runs until 27th August at The Pleasance Grand details here.

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