Enigma is a one-man comedy show starring (in his own words) the world’s greatest pickup artist.  Performed by Alexander Sparrow, Enigma is an incredibly well developed and believable character, so much so that others at my table spent a reasonable amount of time trying to place his American accent. 

The show begins with Enigma immediately taking his audience in hand as we learn more about him and he lets us know, with exuberant charm, that he is here to make our life worth living. He is one of those rare and engaging performers that speaks to their audience and not just at them, especially at a smaller venue like Cavern Club, he makes sure to maintain eye contact and share side comments with those present.

Being both a motivational speaker and a pick up artist, Enigma walks the line between funny and offensive with delicacy and precision.  Every time it seems like he is about to crossover and make a sexist joke he takes an unexpected turn and flips it on it’s head in such a way that it is incredibly clear that the show is satire.  Notably, this is done without ever creating an inconsistency within the character. Everything in the show is placed there for a reason and Enigma flows through the various parts of his routine seamlessly, jibing with an audience member one moment, then drifting into a tale of personal experience, making the almost conversationalist style of this performance seem natural and effortless.

The best part of the evening are the stories. Enigma is a masterful and engaging storyteller.  Although they are outlandish, they are so well told you find yourself believing them, and perhaps more importantly, believing the character. Enigma is not someone with a set amount of lines and never deviating from his plot, but shapes and molds himself to every audience, he reacts to our reactions, references previous interactions and his constant acknowledgement serves to continue his bewitchment over us, like a true pick up artist.

The show is a well crafted combination of theatre and stand-up.  Whilst it’s not a laugh a minute show, there are still plenty of hilarious moments and you’ll have many other responses to him as well. Not only did I laugh, but at different points my jaw was slack with shock, I shook my head vehemently and audibly said words like, “Woah”. Clearly, your expression repertoire will get a workout. As the evening begins to wrap up you realise that everything that occurred has a purpose. There are some very clever callbacks scattered about, which not only throwback to what’s been, but collect all of these together to tie into the ending. The finale provides a clear summary of what we have learnt, taking the show full circle and the reveal has a wonderment surrounding it similar to that of a magic trick. I laughed and clapped, shaking my head and smiling, thinking, “Of course!”, while also wondering “How did he do that?”. I loved this ouroboros-effect and hope to see more like this from his future endeavours.

Overall, I am left impressed with not only the structure and content of the show but also with how well rehearsed it is.  Creating a believable and funny character is no easy feat, keeping an audience convinced and immersed for an hour takes this performance to another level. If you enjoy character comedy this show is a must see.

Enigma is playing at Cavern Club from the 10th-12th of August followed by a late show at VKs on the 13th. To book or to find more information about his other shows click here: <eventfinda.co.nz>

*Written with Laura Ferguson and originally published at ArtMurmurs.nz

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