By Sam Farrell
Nestled into the cosy upper level of the Basement theatre, 50 or so people awkwardly avoid touching elbows with the strangers they have been placed next to, whilst staring at a lone microphone on stage.
Then the lights begin to dim and the stage illuminates. George Michael's '80s classic 'Faith' booms over the speakers, and Eli Matthewson bounces out of the wings and onto the stage.
He's at full gallop from the moment he picks up that microphone, pouncing straight into his content and discussing the mental torment he went through to decide what side of the stage he needed to enter from, and which side would reflect good feng shui.
The show is quite appropriately titled Faith and it's about Matthewson's journey through having, losing and developing a new belief system.
Matthewson speaks about being a gay male growing up in a Christian household, and the moment he realised he no longer upheld those values.
Talking frankly about coming to terms with his own sexuality and coming out to his parents, Matthewson ricochets off one joke, straight on to another, constantly keeping the audience engaged and laughing.
What I really liked about this show is how honest and refreshing it is. It's a relatable, clever type of humour, and it allows for Matthewson to exude his lovably awkward natural self.
Matthewson has been nominated for the Billy T award a second time this year, and it's easy to see why. He's got a youthful exuberance about him, a charm, and the showmanship to hold his own against the big names in New Zealand comedy.
I was in fits of laughter throughout the whole performance and everybody else seemed to be thoroughly enjoying themselves too.
Matthewson is undoubtedly one of New Zealand's most promising young comedians.
source: newshub archive