Review with PHOTOS: William Shatner


By Shane Jones

Artist: William Shatner

Date / Venue: Sunday October 14th, 2018 - Isaac Theatre Royal, Christchurch

Captains Log Star Date, fourteen ten eighteen. Support duo Pablo Vasquez have just delivered their set of instrumental songs to a near full house and I’m sorry to say that although the ticket and advertising stated 7pm start (and I even rang up the theatre to confirm start time) when I arrived they were virtually onto their last song at 6:45pm. So I was just a bit disappointed, and could not review them, my apologies.

With that said, it isn’t too long before the main act, Mr William Shatner, takes the stage. The lights dim and the auditorium fills with the iconic theme music to Star Trek, and the voice of Shatner telling the crowd to turn off their cell phones unless they’re ringing people to fill the remaining seats which got the fans laughing right from the word go.

He appears on stage, for his very first trip to Christchurch and the South Island, to a big welcoming cheer from the crowd, then suddenly he was met a few moments later by a leather swivel seat being sent racing towards him across the floor from the side of stage. He jokes about how he’s been roasted in the past and how he’s had to stick up for himself and shows an excerpt from the roasting where his former Trekkie actor George Takei (Mr Sulu) tells William to ‘f#%k off’ to which Shatner then gets the front of house to replay the clip on the huge screen behind him to show the emotion on George’s face. ‘He’s a real angry man’ Shatner quips. The crowd bursts out laughing at the still shot in front of us.

He next takes a shot at George Lucas, the Star Wars creator (Star Trek and Star Wars have a long running rivalry) and said that he couldn’t bring a smile to his face either, which introduced another video clip. This 87 year old definitely got us all laughing and that’s how it would be right throughout the show.

William breaks out yarn after yarn and gives plenty of detail to put us in the picture, so we were living the story he was telling us and at the same time laughing at him. He brings up his early childhood and how his mother called him Bad Billy for cutting the legs off the dining room table.

He tells personal stories about his family, and reveals his favourite acting assignments, has funny call backs and talks about the interactions he’s had with animals he’s worked with or bred.

The fan favourites are there, with Shatner talking about Denny Crane and relating to the audience the day Gene Roddenberry called and wanted him to act in a sci-fi series called Star Trek, how he landed the role of James T Kirk.

Over time NASA jumped on board as Trekkie fans and got William to come to Kennedy Space Centre, and eventually to call well wishes for the final mission for the Space Shuttle Discovery, which was a big honour for him.

Well as you can see he has boldly gone where nobody has gone before and I haven’t told you half of what he talked about as you might as well give me the $99-$350 for the two hour autobiography comedy session. I’m grateful that I’ve had the opportunity to see one of my childhood sci-fi heroes up close and I wasn’t disappointed at all with his delivery he’s clearly a hard working guy and loves to give his all.

He mentions his singing career and how it started and jokes that he’s got a new Christmas album coming out in the next couple of weeks called Shatner Claus.

I wish there was merchandise, which would’ve been great to buy. I would have loved to have taken a memento away from such a fantastic night out.

He says that life is a risk and if you don’t take risks then doors won’t open for you. With that it was time for him to leave the stage. Although I think the audience probably could have sat through another two hours with William Shatner.

My birthday falls on the same day as his friend and colleague, the late great Leonard Nimoy who played Spock in Star Trek, so William Shatner, live long and prosper.