Friday, 20 April 2018

Adulting - Melbourne International Comedy Festival review

It's not easy being an adult. As you enter your 20s, you notice an increase in your responsibilities and obligations in being a good adult, especially when owning your home, having a high-paying career, getting married and having children seem to be the determiners of this success. Tash York doesn't have any of that, but she does have a hell of a lot of talent, and in her cabaret show, Adulting, she sings her way through her frustrations on what makes your adult life a good life.

York and pianist Tim Solly cleverly take a number of well-known songs, change the lyrics and create new musical numbers that provide the audience with a sense of familiarity and also allow for an anticipation to flow through the room as to what song will be next. Ace of Base's "All That She Wants" becomes a song about needing a baby to feel complete and a cheeky spot of rapping hilariously exposes the harsh truths of famous nursery rhymes and their characters, including Georgie Porgie and his predatory ways.

Wednesday, 18 April 2018

Absolutely Normal - Melbourne International Comedy Festival review

Showko - “Laughing Child” in Japanese - is the number one rakugo performer in Australia, and she returns to the Melbourne stage with her show, Absolutely Normal. Disappointingly, Showko is the only rakugo performer in Australia, as this art form is so rich on imagination and creativity that it would be great to have the opportunity to see it more often. Originating in Japan, rakugo is a 400-year-old traditional form of comic storytelling using minimal props with the performer kneeling on a cushion. Movement, action and characters are all conveyed through body language, voice and facial expressions.

Dresser in a shiny silver yukata, Showko warms up the audience with some anecdotes about life in Japan and Australia. They are stories of the everyday but her enthusiasm makes them seem far more exciting than they are, which could be considered a lesson in how to approach and appreciate rakugo. This pays off for the audience when it comes to her rakugo story about a cherry tree that allows us to easily be transported into the world she describes.

Tuesday, 17 April 2018

Whom - Melbourne International Comedy Festival review

Clara Cupcakes has two faces: her comedy face and her burlesque face. During her many years as a performer, she's noticed there is a dichotomy between the two. To put it simply, she is too sexual for comedy and too funny for burlesque. In her new Melbourne International Comedy Festival show, Whom, Clara takes us on a journey inside her head as she tried to reconcile the two art forms.

Known for her whimsical nature, Clara seems more erratic and anxious in this show than previous ones which is fitting within the context of Whom. We are delving into the mind and psyche of a performer that doesn't quite fit in to the existing moulds and it should be nerve-wracking. She still finds a good balance of confidence and vulnerability in exploring this and in remaining true to her character, Clara chooses to host a karaoke party as the backdrop for Whom.

Monday, 16 April 2018

Whine List - Melbourne International Comedy Festival review

There are comedy shows that are remembered for their extravagant set pieces, others for their energetic performances and others for the splattering of jokes that are churned out each second. And then there is Marcel Lucont's Whine List, a show with the most minimal of sets, lowest of energy and more despair out loud than laughs out loud. But it is a show where this kind of approach works in its favour.

Drinking his bottle of red wine and wearing a blue suit, the barefooted Frenchman exudes the confidence and arrogance that stereotypes are made of. He cares little of what we think of him and cares even less about us. He's here to basically make us feel a little bit shit about our lives and ourselves.

Sunday, 15 April 2018

Queen Bitch - Melbourne International Comedy Festival review

Geraldine Quinn has had an extremely rough time of late. A series of unfortunate events have forced her from living in her south eastern suburbs unit back to the not-so idyllic surroundings of Noble Park (North), just 5km from where her parents live. Queen Bitch, her new cabaret comedy show, recalls these events in horrific and hysterical detail, which begin from when she was a 10 year old girl in love with Xanadu but petrified of roller skating.

Quinn is a masterful storyteller in bringing all the pieces of her life together to create a flowing single narrative that engages the audiences for its entirety. Her performance is highly impressive with her tone and facial expressions used effectively to convey her emotions. When describing the moment her unit flooded, the whole room can feel the frantic disbelief that she would have experienced in that situation.

Saturday, 14 April 2018

Days of our Hives - Melbourne International Comedy Festival review

Let's get one thing straight; Days of our Hives is not a show about bee puns. Performer and beekeeper Alanta Colley hates them. But when your entire show is about bees, it's not always easy to resist the sweet temptation of a pun, even if it sometimes really stings. Instead, Colley has crafted an entertaining show that leaves its audience utterly fascinated from the facts she presents on the weirdly wonderful world that bees inhabit while providing plenty of laughs.

Days of our Hives is part comedy show and part lecture on bees. Colley provides us with a wealth of information on bees, including the disturbing reality of how honey is actually made and that sometimes abstinence is the best form of safe sex, especially if you are a male bee. Colley uses a slideshow throughout to visually engage the audience and even throws in some home videos of her expertly at work as she searches for a missing swarm.

Butt Donut - Melbourne International Comedy Festival review

After making her debut at the Melbourne Fringe Festival last year, Annie Louey has brought her Butt Donut back to Melbourne audiences. Louey was 16 when she almost died in a freak accident forcing her to deal with some very adult stuff. Butt Donut is an exploration of that pain and sorrow and what better way to tackle such dark issues than through comedy?

Louey has a welcoming presence on stage and she kicks off the show with some anecdotes that quickly puts the audience at ease. Louey has a solid grasp on her material and a clear idea of what it is she wants to discuss but this doesn't always translate in the show. While she predominantly looks at her own accident and the death of her father, the rest of the show feels like it's out of place.