Friday 13 March 2020

Gretchen - Melbourne International Comedy Festival preview

What are you supposed to do when your friends, family and the general population all seem to like your british shorthair cat more than you? Well if you're Clara Cupcakes, you make a show about it. The multi-disciplined, multi-award nominated comedian is taking audiences on an absurdly surreal trip with her new Melbourne International Comedy Festival show, Gretchen.

Considering how much of a fun loving bubble of energy and positivity Clara is, it's surprising to hear that her cat receives more attention than her. So, who exactly is Gretchen? "Gretchen is my horrible, no good, grumpy and adorable cat whom I adore despite her being utterly awful," she admits. "I’m making a show about her because she is infinitely more popular than I am so I’m giving the people what they want. It’s honestly ridiculous. Both my housemate and I get more engagement on photos and videos when we post content of Gretchen than any of our own work. I was in Perth recently and I had a drag queen that I don’t even know rush up to me and ask “WHO IS LOOKING AFTER GRETCHEN?!”."

Wednesday 11 March 2020

Scandal! A Reflection on Essendon’s Doping Saga: The Musical? - Melbourne International Comedy Festival preview

For a country that prides itself on sport, particularly football, the doping scandal that plagued the AFL in 2013 was a devastating blow to the nation. After being investigated by the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority and the World Anti-Doping Agency over the legality of its supplements program during the 2012 AFL season, the Essendon Football Club was fined $2 million, banned from the 2013 finals series, and suspended its senior coach and general manager. They're the perfect ingredients to create a musical comedy out of right? Well Kit Richards seems to think so with her new Melbourne International Comedy Festival show, Scandal! A Reflection on Essendon’s Doping Saga: The Musical? 

After being nominated for the Golden Gibbo and Green Room Awards in 2019 for Wool! The Musical, Richards is looking forward to tackling this scandal, and while it might be very different to the wool industry, the two are more closely linked than you'd think. "I recently bought an Essendon guernsey that was made out of Merino wool and the tag on it said ‘Australian Rules Football and the wool industry are knitted together geographically, socially and financially’ so I guess it was fate!" she tells me. "Seriously though, the history of wool was a topic that had plenty of comedic potential but I always like to grow and develop as a writer so I thought it would be interesting to tackle something I don’t find funny. In that way, that was a natural progression but to outsiders, it’s probably a bit of a leap."

Tuesday 10 March 2020

Lousical the Musical - Melbourne International Comedy Festival preview

As someone who thrives on being meticulously organised and methodical on finishing tasks, the description for Lou Wall's Melbourne International Comedy Festival show sent shivers running down my spine. In 18 years, Wall as amassed an unfinished to-do list of 923 items. And they have been haunting her. In Lousical the Musical, she sets about finally checking these items off her list.

The number might be extreme, but Wall assures me that it is not as horrific as I imagine it to be and she is optimistic of culling the list down to zero. "I promise it’s not as bad as it sounds! I have been making to-do lists since 2002 - when I was 5 years old. So naturally there are lists from the early 2000s that have totally meaningless tasks on them such as “find a toy for show and tell” and “pray for grandma”," she recalls. "Then I’d say there are roughly 500 tasks that I haven’t completed but are no longer relevant, for example from Year 12: “Get a 99 ATAR” and “research biomed uni courses”. That leaves me with 200-ish left to get done – I will be completing all of these in the show. Although this seems as if it's a super chaotic existence, I am a perfectionist and I strive towards a high level of organisation, at any one time I don’t think I’d have more than 10 pressing things to do."

Sunday 8 March 2020

Shark Heist - Melbourne International Comedy Festival preview

If you've never attended a Cam Venn show, you are definitely in for a wild ride. If you have, you may have an inkling of what's coming, but even then you should proceed with caution. Returning with a new show at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival, the Golden Gibbo Winner presents an action-packed tale revolving around a precious jewel, a killer shark and a retired thief back for one final job to beguile his audience with. Welcome to Shark Heist.

Shark Heist is your archetypal hero’s journey of an ex-thief doing one last heist to try and get his best friend, a great white shark, back," Venn tells me. "An audience member described it to me as “like recreating the movie you just saw in the lounge room with your mates” and I love that. There's plenty to be entertained with, and you can expect lasers, intense montages to music, and the world’s biggest diamond."

Tuesday 3 March 2020

The Bride - Melbourne International Comedy Festival preview

Here comes the bride, all dressed in white. Your wedding should be one of the most memorable days of your life but for comedian Nadia Collins, this is most definitely not the case. In her new show for the Melbourne International Comedy Festival, , Collins finds herself in a predicament that has her facing a transformation that she never thought possible. Blending physical theatre into an immersive environment, The Bride will have audiences eagerly waiting till the very end if she makes it to the altar.

Collins' The Bride was inspired by Franz Kafka's novel The Metamorphosis, where a salesman wakes up one morning to see he has been turned into an insect. "My show however is about a bride who turns into a cockroach on her hen’s night. I’ve always been interested in The Metamorphosis as a story and the themes it raises. I love the idea that deep down we’re all cockroaches," she says.

Monday 2 March 2020

The Living Room - Melbourne International Comedy Festival preview

The Accountants of Death will see you now. Back for another Melbourne season after a hugely successful 2019 Melbourne Fringe Festival where they took out the award for Best Comedy, Amrita Dhaliwal and Gemma Soldati's The Living Room is an absurd yet unflinching look at life and death. The two play employees of Death who record the toll of those who have died. One has been diligently doing this for a very long time but must now show the ropes to a new starter, who is on their first day on the job while making sure those deaths get recorded.

It was the performers' individual lived experiences with death and grief that ultimately inspired them to make a work on the sensitive subject on death, often proving quite challenging for them to develop. "I lost my boyfriend in 2012 and Amrita lost her mother in 2017 so these events brought us together to reflect on the experience of loss, the rituals around grief and our questions about death," Soldati tells me. "In the early stages of this, on any given night, either or both of us would cry during the show. The emotions were raw and exposing our grief was intense. When we started, it hadn't even been a year since Amrita's mother had passed and midway through working on the show my father was diagnosed with stage four cancer."

Survivor: All or Nothing winner interview

After a harrowing 32 hours, the winner of Survivor: All or Nothing was finally crowned. Katie Allan outwitted, outplayed and outlasted 14 others player to be the Sole Survivor and winner of $300. We caught up with the two-time player to see how her strategy going into the game changed second time round, and whether there's more Survivor life left in her.

So, congratulations once again, how does it feel now that it's been a week since you won?I’m still riding the survivor high and it still feels very surreal but I’m also still very, very sore and both mentally and physically exhausted. I’m definitely juggling multiple feelings and emotions, which is difficult now that I’m back at work.

Did you go in there expecting to win?
My first answer is absolutely not but I think everyone who plays this game has every chance of winning so I hadn’t ruled myself out completely.

What was your reason for coming back?
Redemption! I was blindsided out of the game last season (Survivor: Worlds Collide) at the fourth tribal council. If the people that were involved in that blindside were playing I was out for revenge. I also just really wanted to make merge so that I could add it to my tinder profile. We all know you’re not dateable if you don’t make merge.

Sunday 1 March 2020

On the Origin of Faeces - Melbourne International Comedy Festival preview

She's previously regaled us with shows on parasites and bees but for this year's Melbourne International Comedy Festival, Alanta Colley is going to entertain us with ... shit. Yes, that's right, shit. On the Origin of Faeces will have Colley celebrating all that we excrete as she deep dives into our guts and bowels and open us up to how we see and think about our poo. The scientist/comedian has been working on this shit show for months and Colley is eagerly waiting to share her wealth of knowledge on the matter with Melbourne.

The question that most people will immediately have for Colley is why? What makes someone decide to research all things poo for a comedy show? "Purely for the challenge. I mean, has anyone written a joke about poo before? Is it even possible? " She asks. "Poo is a source of secrecy and shame for all of us, but in science we are having a poo Renaissance. After the 20th century being mainly about identifying bad bacteria and killing it, we're now realising how much bacteria is beneficial for us, that it plays a key role in our digestion, hormone production and moods, and we're just at the dawn of understanding how the gut talks to the brain. It's really fascinating, so this was a chance to sink my teeth into the latest research on faecal transplants, studies of the gut microbiome, and confront some of my own biases and fears on poo."