Review – Ivan Aristeguieta: Lost in Pronunciation
Early in Lost in Pronunciation, Ivan Aristeguieta apologises in advance for saying any words wrong. “After all, language is 80 percent non-verbal.” He has no reason to be sorry; he has a masterful grip on not only the two languages, but also his comedy and his audience. Opening his show by asking how many people in the audience speak Spanish, a murmur of nervous excitement whispers throughout the room – a high school Spanish class is on excursion here tonight, but they’d rather giggle amongst themselves than respond. He then asks how many native Spanish speakers are in the audience. An eruption of cheers rises from Aristeguieta’s attending friends and family. The high schoolers burst into fits of laughter and remain in hysterics for the full hour. Immediately releasing any initial tension in the room, we realize that here in his room, under Ivan’s warm spotlight, and the comfortable fedora he is known for, we are all Aristeguieta’s friends and family. Reaching our sea-girt shores only two years ago, if Ivan Aristeguieta at first put himself forward as an ‘outsider looking in’ comedic observer, he transcends that schtick here.
If you’ve seen Aristugeuta before, you’ll know him for his insightful commentary on the foods that make us Australian, and especially Adelaidean. Squeezing more than most out of what pie floaters, West End Draught and tomato sauce say about us, he is now able to beef up these nuggets of wisdom and simmer on his recipe longer and stronger. True to the title of his show, Aristeguieta delves deep into the linguistics of our familiar, favourite things and renders a fresh perspective, milking a considerably wise wordsmithery from our kitchen cupboards. Like those supermarket ah-ha! moments that we all have in common, but need good comedians to articulate, Aristeguieta finds new kernels of interest in things that we’ve always known but never realised.
There is no mockery in his observations, merely celebration. More than a host, he is as much a part of the party that he invites us to see all around us. With a Spanish version of ACDC’s “Back in Black” and a rendition of “Salsa-ing Matilda” that both bring the house down, we get such a strong sense that Aristeguieta adores Australia as much as we do him. Ivan has a heart of gold, and that heart is well and truly at home here. Not only in our country, but there in the room with us in indeed in our own salsa-beating hearts.