Thursday, 18 April 2019

That'll Teach Me - Melbourne International Comedy Festival review

Max Atwood has been a primary school teacher for five years and is living, breathing proof that while you can take the teacher out of the classroom, you can't take the classroom out of the teacher. So, before we begin today's lesson with his comedy show That'll Teach Me, Atwood advises us what our learning objectives are and how we will achieve those.

While Atwood shares anecdotes from his career (life?) as a teacher, the focus with this show rests with an incident between a student at a summer camp. When Atwood unintentionally offended a student by calling him a certain word, he allows the student the rare opportunity to call his teacher any name he wants - just once - without any form of punishment or consequence. It's a child's dream come true to tell their teacher he's a dickhead or an asswipe and not get a detention.

Misery - Melbourne International Comedy Festival review

Neil Triffett loves misery and misery loves company so it's only natural that Triffett would choose to make a comedy show about it, after all, he did write and direct a feature film called Emo the Musical. Armed with a piano, ukulele and his memories, Triffett talks and sings his way through Misery while highlighting how sadness and anxiety can impact your outlook on life. 

Triffett's wry sense of humour is evident from the beginning as he discusses being a 12-year-old boy in Port Arthur coming to terms with his sexuality, while also trying not to minimise anyone else's just-as-valid circumstances. His catchy musical numbers display Triffett's ability to express complex emotions through common situations and stories. They provide an insight into his mind where traditional storytelling would perhaps struggle to be as successful.

Wednesday, 17 April 2019

Poopie Tum Tums - Melbourne International Comedy Festival review

Poopie Tum Tums is the show that Honor Wolff and Patrick Durnan Silva have been aching to finally flex their acting muscles with. Despite their previous shows, they are more than just "hilarious comedians"; they are actors. In this hour of avant-garde theatre the two stars dazzle with some powerfully gut wrenching scenes that -nah, screw that. Whatever Wolff and Silva may claim they are achieving in Poopie Tum Tums, that's not what you experience with The Very Good Looking Initiative. If you think you'd seen it all with CULL and Let's Get Practical! Live then strap yourself in, because these wacky oddballs are on fire again and ready to unleash their twisted and shameless sense of humour on their audience.

Tuesday, 16 April 2019

The 2007 Wonthaggi Blue Light Disco - Melbourne International Comedy Festival review

A blue light disco is the highlight of any teenager's life. It's an opportunity to cut loose, enjoy some dancing, banter with friends and partake in the odd bit of fingering. Or maybe not, as one of the rules of the dance within The 2007 Wonthaggi Blue Light Disco is no fingering. And also no drinking. But most importantly, no fingering.

Through a number of sketches, The Dizzy Biz (Alex Cooper, Kayla Hamill and Jordan Barr) bring the residents of this small town to life and shine a spotlight on what it's like to be a teenager in 2007. The show opens with the strict no-nonsense organisers setting up for the disco and it sets the scene for what to expect from these odd characters. The focus of the show is on a romance between two students, Frenchie and Jason, who each come with their own set of dramas.

Monday, 15 April 2019

NEON - Melbourne International Comedy Festival review

With excessive amounts of parachute clothing, big hair and neon colours, it's definitely a trip down memory lane for many attending Circus Oz's Melbourne International Comedy Festival show, NEON. In its fast-paced hour, NEON treats its audiences to some rad circus tricks, wicked tunes and vocals and totally cool dance moves. 

The bitchin' soundtrack includes hits like Frankie Goes to Hollywood's "Relax", Prince's "Purple Rain" and the Ghostbusters theme song. These songs are incorporated into acts where movements and tricks are brilliantly timed to peak when the chorus kicks in or a memorable part of the song begins. Despite being upside down during Phil Collins' "In The Air Tonight", Ian Richardson's handstand canes act leads to some very fancy footwork and Poppy Fairbairn and Zion Martin's Risley (foot juggling) act is taken to the next level when accompanied by Bonnie Tyler's "I Need A Hero". Apart from being gifted circus performers, Lisa Lottie, Richard Sullivan, Fairbairn, Martin and Richardson take on individual personas / stereotypes of the 80s that they are clearly having a lot of fun with and keep them going throughout the night. Lottie’s “bad girl” image is particularly entertaining to see unfold during her ongoing contortionist act.

Sunday, 14 April 2019

Chipper - Melbourne International Comedy Festival review

Whenever Kirsty Webeck begins to tell you a story you're never quite sure how it's going to turn out, but one thing is certain: it's going to get weird. Not weird in the freak out way but weird in the "it could only happy to Kirsty" weird. It's like she - and anything or anyone that comes in contact with her - is destined to have these random encounters that are then shared with strangers every night. Her new Melbourne International Comedy Festival show Chipper, is no exception.

Webeck has been in a relationship for two years now and while this show is not about relationships, many of the stories stem from being in one. What do you do when your partner is from New Zealand and uses the New Zealand word to describe an item of footwear? How drastically does life change when you move from the cool North side of Melbourne to the dreaded South? And where should you stay when your partner's family come to visit? Through hilarious personal experiences, Webeck answers all these questions with her unique perspective on life and precision comedy timing.

Nerd Are Sexy - Melbourne International Comedy Festival review

I suspect Alia Vryens and Colin Craig, the comedy rock duo from PickUp, are the biggest nerds around after seeing their new Melbourne International Comedy Festival show suitably titled Nerds Are Sexy. The pair sing and talk their way around a variety of nerd themes while reassuring the audience that liking things and being passionate about things should be celebrated and not hidden away in a wardrobe.

Vryens and Craig's free-flowing energy and enthusiasm are easily comparable to the moment you kill Bowser in the final round of Super Mario Bros. Even with a relatively small stage space, they are always moving and completely dedicated to giving the audience a great time. It's not long before the show begins to resemble a group of friends chilling out and playing music in their garage. Their use of popular culture references like Pokemon, Dr. Who and others I've never heard of previously, to tie into their themes of relationships, sexism and life experience is well thought out.