Tucked away in the Fringe’s Attic at The Pleasance, loud and proud New Zealander Rose Matafeo is so much more than a stand up act.
In her eccentric brainchild Rose Matafeo is Finally Dead, the 24-year-old comic treats a cosy audience to a dress rehearsal of her own funeral, first joking about her terrifying, unavoidable fate – that is (quite predictably) one day to die, then skilfully faux-muddling her way through anecdotes of morbid thoughts and depression; ideas for funeral playlists and flash mobs; and obscure impressions.
Utilising props including bedazzled tux jackets, One Direction merchandise and cue cards, Matafeo masters a performance just short of overwhelming. And receiving among her biggest laughs playing off an incompetent assistant on ‘work experience’ who spends the majority of the show sulking in the front row, it seems this comic has quite a knack for thawing her audience.
Matafeo is talented and confident enough to mock nervousness, endearing herself to a crowd of students, middle-aged parents and fellow performers alike. She’s brave, somehow managing to strike a perfect balance between honesty and silliness, familiarity and absurdity. Thanks in part to her preparedness to transverse boundaries between sketch and stand up, prepared and improv comedy, Matafeo triumphs in her assembly of something completely new: an entirely experimental, and phenomenally funny indefinable kind of live comedy. Serious underlying themes give already very clever lines a kind of potency, and empty laughs are few and far between.
It’s hard to imagine Matafeo anywhere but on stage, and it’s disappointing to see her bow out at the end. Thankfully, the audience are left with a residing confidence that this eclectic comic will only come back stronger.