James Roque makes a promising solo stand-up debut at Fringe in a show titled Badong. Beautifully combining anecdotes, physical gags and a multimedia approach, Roque shares stories we can connect with and laugh at and delights audiences with a surprise ending that proves how truly committed he is to his jokes.
The show focuses on Roque’s journey of growing up as a Filipino migrant in New Zealand. On this occasion, the performance is a special one since the majority of the attendees comprise Filipinos, as Roque realises himself through audience engagement. As a migrant myself, several aspects of the show ring true, especially the one where migrants are often made to feel self-conscious of the food from our cultures.
Roque’s set contains bits that serve as food for thought (no pun intended) but also goofy bits that have you roaring with laughter – one will forever change what you think of while opening the Netflix app. There are a few fumbles, but Roque doesn’t allow them to mar his pace as he moves on. A running gag of the show is the root of Roque’s nickname, Badong, after which the show is named. Granted, Roque relies on the absurdity of the plot of a Filipino film (clips of which he plays for the audience as he explains the context) for some laughs. However, he brings it home at the end as he parodies it by inserting himself and adapting it to his life story, which has the audience in splits.
Whether it’s improv in SNORT or his solo stand-up show Badong, Roque has proved this Fringe that he’s got a range to offer, and it’ll be exciting to see what project he works on next!