Comedy Festival 2008, BATS Theatre
May 6-11 | Reviewed by Melody Nixon

Funk Rabbit is a high powered duo of improvisers from Canada. True to publicity notes they are indeed eclectic, and there is certainly an element of being “on the edge” in the show; though perhaps more due to nervous tension than any risqué inclinations. However their comedy is well-rounded and wholesome, and provokes big belly laughs through its range of teasing and cutesy stories. Nicely consummated by the end of the hour, the skits in Funk Rabbit are impressively well-structured, and if not always consistent with the themes and activities earlier drawn from the audience (where did the cricket go?) they provide a hearty dose of humour.

Derek Flores has performed at previous International Comedy Festivals as a solo stand-up comic, with entertaining results. Julian Faid makes an excellent side-kick for Flores, who is undoubtedly the brains behind the scam (in more ways than one; Flores performed both evil villain and annoying superhero in one opening night skit, managing to kill one of his selves in the process).

The duo may need more time to get to know each other though; at times a mild sense of unease threatened to untie their performances on opening night. The show’s grand opening, guided by an ‘added DJ’ in the form of Pit Bar Dan, went from spectacular to slow and stilted in seconds. If the minor spectacle of disco lights and rumbling voice was further drawn out Faid and Flores’ entrance would be less of an anti-climax. Pit Bar Dan’s contribution did work to add a lot of depth and mood to the show however; and the music-actor interaction was energetic and enjoyable to watch. An unnamed lighting operator flirted with stylised lighting to greatly assist the humour.

Derek Flores manages to incorporate elements of his stand-up style into the spontaneous dialogue, especially through a build-up to punch lines and embarrassing NZ pop-culture references. In one skit two lonely forty year olds find themselves on the prowl in Southern Cross, Abel Smith street, before breaking down into object depression at the state of their lives. (It’s ok though; they decide to make a clean break through muffin-baking.)

Derek Flores and Julian Faid can’t always bring themselves to use the word “bitches,” (big ups), they laugh at themselves, and they’re not afraid to use superhero characters. An unusual couple indeed; overall Funk Rabbit is an engaging, robust and satisfyingly laughter-filled jaunt through improv territory.