It turns out that magic does exist – and it’s in the form of a spiky haired, skinny-jean clad Brit. For one hour of pure magic and escapism, I suspended my judgment and stepped into Chris Cox’s world. The stage was set with an eclectic blend of stuffed bunnies, clocks and Starbucks mugs. It was a fast-paced, frenetic hour where it felt as if my mind wasn’t quite my own.
A quirkily different take on comedy, Fatal Distraction is a refreshing mix of a richly layered story-telling, stand-up comedy, music, some funky moves and a hint of theatre. Expect nothing and be prepared for anything as the mind-reader who doesn’t read minds, blows yours.
Chris talks as quickly as his jeans are tight. Close your eyes and let yourself be swept away as he weaves the story of a love that wasn’t throughout his show. He was impressive from the first moment; three random audience members were pulled onto the stage by a jumper-wearing (stuffed) ferret that was flung around the auditorium. One by one, the three participants drew a picture on the flip-board set up on stage, whilst singing a song. The wavering notes of Stand By Me were released by the first participant as he drew. Separated by a screen, Chris asked questions whilst drawing what he believed the audience member was. Almost predictably, the pictures were pretty much identical. There were gasps and laughs as the audience struggled to understand how the heck that happened.
This sets the tone for the rest of the performance. Audience participation features highly with Chris regularly coming into the audience to interact – throwing out pens, envelopes, questions – answers to which are written down and displayed prominently on stage. In fact, the spectacle begins before the show does when the audience are encouraged to write down something they want Chris to do during the show. The untouched papers sit in plain view on the stage as he duly performs what he asked his audience to think about.
The whole show is a sensory overload that barely allows you to catch your breath as you struggle to comprehend what you’re seeing. That’s the joy of it right there – it’s charming, it’s whimsical and it’s a touch of Hogwarts right here in Auckland. Although it’s not classically what you’d define as comedy, it still left a big fat smile on my face.