By Joe Davis
Artist: Rainer Hersch
Date / Venue: Friday May 3rd, 2013, Town Hall, Auckland
"Rainer Hersch's Victor Borge" is playing at the Comedy Chamber (Auckland Town Hall) as part of theInternational Comedy Festival. We saw the second performance (Friday night), and based on what we saw this is a festival show you should absolutely get along and see.
The show is Hersch's tribute to Borge - evidently a remarkable entertainer (I didn't know much at all about Borge before the show), with a career spanning decades and taking him around the globe. It is an indication of the quality of this highly engaging - and at times hysterically funny - performance that I spent a good amount of time the morning after the show watching clips from Borge's career on YouTube.
The show opens with Hersch in full Borge character, accent and all. Just at the right moment - just as we're thinking "so what's this about?" - he breaks character and begins a parallel narrative in his own voice. The two narratives then weave together beautifully, jumping from mic to piano and back, spinning a captivating tale of Borge's life - and giving some insight into Hersch's own as well. Combine with this genuinely well-told story a number of comedic routines - many of Borge's more famous material along with some of Hersch's own - and you're in for a pretty special performance.
As the show closed (to a hilarious curtain call exploring ‘what they're really singing about in opera') and the lights came up, plenty of the highly appreciative audience were wiping away tears. Some shed during the tender moments in this captivating story of a life thoroughly lived; some from the points of genuine hilarity that punctuated the show. Hersch's deep respect for the late Borge is evident - so too his real talent for making people laugh with his music and stand-up.
Rainer Hersch's Victor Borge is well worth your attention during this International Comedy Festival. Get along and see it!