Sunday 23 April 2023
Harley Mann - founder of Na Djinang and director of Arterial - is extremely specific and clear in creating his vision and showing this connection to story, to people and to country. While there is a lot to of ground to cover, everything that we see and hear - and even feel - in Arterial has purpose. The scattered eucalyptus leaves and branches around the stage and the way the lighting design by Gina Gascoigne includes red light illuminating the space are subtle yet constant reminders of the relationship to land being depicted and by extension our relationship with the land we live on.
Saturday 22 April 2023
Gaul radiates warmth on stage and her personality shines through as she makes sure she greets everyone as we enter and take our seats. She is personable and friendly and when she recreates her passport and drivers license photo IDs she becomes someone we could sit there and listen to all night and still be entertained.
Apap plays a no-nonsense life coach, whom we have paid a lot of money for this six step program to learn from. She's so focused on this journey that she won't even accept any form of applause when she appears on stage. Everything seems to be going well(ish) until she has an IBS attack which results in Apap's inner child becoming free with the older Apap now trapped inside a hydroflask.
Friday 21 April 2023
Locascio talks about various mishaps and adventures, and he shows a great ability to bring up a memory and trail off to another but still return to what he was saying. It’s not off the cuff but he makes it sound natural and that he has thought about how to best tell these stories. So when he begins reminiscing about his Italian grandmother and midway through he gets “side-tracked” with a completely different story about his Greek grandmother he finds his way back to the original anecdote in a highly genuine way.
Wednesday 19 April 2023
It's 2am when Lavoipierre’s brain, with a charming French accent, begins speaking to her and preventing her from falling asleep. She deduces that watching a movie will help her fall asleep and of ALL THE FILMS in the world, she decides the 1973 horror film The Exorcist is a suitable option (and if you’ve seen this you’ll have a better understanding of where the title for this show came from). From then on, we are treated to an absurd exploration of her twilight musings on religion, sexuality and the patriarchy through The Exorcist along with its 'deleted scenes' set in random alternate movies, such as The Matrix. Sounds weird? Buckle up. It gets weirder.
In their comedy show, We're New Here, the two examine the intricacies of Melbourne culture and lifestyle, from our unhealthy obsession with good coffee and the unique experience of hunting for a rental property. There are some brilliant sketches, including scarily accurate digs at Melbourne's impro scene and the premier performing arts school of this city, VCA. Their description of Sydney and Nowra – with extremely detailed and intricate maps - are also a highlight, giving the audience a very clear indication of where they came from.
Thursday 13 April 2023
Grimshaw is superb in this role. She completely gives herself over to Grim with the stuttering voice, the physicality and the outlandish red costume with accompanying wig. The alien language that she creates might sound like a bunch of nonsense but it genuinely feels like she's gone and made a specific noise for its equivalent English word, and whether she has or not is beside the point as it is still works on that level.
Sunday 9 April 2023
When Nicolette Minster googled herself, she discovered that according to NetWorths Ranks she is a 6ft, 30 year old worth $15 million, something which she is not. Up until this point she had been confident that she was the only Nicolette Minster in the world, so she decided to investigate who this person is and then make a comedy show about it, naturally titled Net Worth.
Using a projector with various slides, Minster presents to us "her" NetWorth Ranks profile and takes us through all the information - personal and family details and marital status. She takes each section of the profile and then dissects it and along with some strong detective work (Facebook and google) attempts to track down this Nicolette Minster's husband or siblings.
Nolan is an extremely likeable and engaging speaker and it's very easy to see how she came so close to winning the seat in an electorate that is a bit too open to COVID and 5G conspiracy theories with a strong anti-vax mentality. She shows great ability in smoothly transitioning from completely ridiculous but factual encounters to the serious aspects of a feminist comedian running for politics, and the subsequent politics of running for politics.
Saturday 8 April 2023
Stevenson does wonderful work in painting a picture of growing up in Coffs Harbour, where gender reveal skid parties were a usual occurrence. He also shares details of his mother's peculiar habits, including her common boycotting of brands, companies and even countries, such as her supermarket protest of all things made in France, and her penchant for growing a very specific green plant.
Friday 7 April 2023
Baba was the best person Ladgrove knew and through his words he easily conveys the warm and loving relationship these two had. Whether he is speaking to us or chatting with his baba, you can see the strong affection in his blue eyes and how even though time heals all, she is still immensely missed.
Camilleri is a chameleon when it comes to transforming into these people. She is unrecognisable from one to the next with just a simple wig or prop. Her physical changes as she goes from sketch to sketch are nuanced and well crafted, particularly with the opening act of a mechanic tending to a customer. It is a stereotype of mechanics but she also gives him his own distinct personality and idiosyncrasies that makes him completely and utterly believable. Camilleri clearly has a strong affection for her creations.
Thursday 6 April 2023
Written and performed by Jake Glanc and Olivia McLeod, the show is packed with sass and laughs. The energy they have throughout complements each other's character and adds fun chaos to the ridiculous situations they find themselves in. They are not afraid to mess with genre and style and the French car ride is an absolute joy to watch. Their time travel back to high school is simply executed but highly effective, as is Jake's date with a fellow classmate.
While it may sound very transactional, Storer makes sure that the passing of the baton from one audience member to another is done in a fun way and has us communicating with each other. He has a genuine interest in talking with each person about the selection they have made, its relatability and about what they have heard. His energy never wavers and he keeps the momentum going from start to finish.
Wednesday 5 April 2023
Willcox and Haigh are in their element in this setting. They were definitely born in the wrong decade as they show their love and affection for the people and the music of this period. Their costumes, physicality and vernacular are very specific and it's clear they have put in a lot of research into the genre and theme to create an authentic experience.
English comedian Seann Walsh is tired. A lot. After all, he is 37 years old. No longer is he able to party like a 20-something year old, and with his stand-up show Back From The Bed, Walsh presents a humorous lament to the years gone by and the frustration of what awaits when you start to have less future and more past.
the casual approach to his routine, and a voice that at times feels
like he's just woken up, Walsh has complete control of the situation and
knows exactly what he's doing. At one point, an audience member knocks
their glass over and Walsh's immediate response of "dad's home!" shows
that he is always on the ball and gives us a brief insight into Walsh's personal life. His banter with the audience displays his ability to improvise
and go down an unknown path before getting back on course.
Tuesday 4 April 2023
Having evolved from physical comedy, Duncan needs to ensure we are aware of the advanced rules and conventions of joke telling. We go through what crowd work means and if he's going to do it or not, the mechanics of observational humour and even the apparatus required for this fresh form of comedy. Such is his skill in comedy that even with his matter-of-fact facial expressions and earnest tone, it's impossible to resist laughing at everything he says, particularly with his loose fitting colourful shirt, white singlet and red cap (and everyone knows real comedians wear black).
Sunday 2 April 2023
The hour of sketch musical comedy takes us to various grand locations from netball courts to IKEA and to orphanages, and introduces us to a unique set of quirky and outlandish personalities. Andrew and O'Brien have been performing together for several years and it is extremely evident, as they consistently match each other’s energy and make each other not only look good but make each other look bloody amazing in the process.
Dylan Cole inherited a locked
briefcase from his grandmother, and in Case Numbers, he takes the
audience through the mystery of cracking the code and what he found inside it.
But before that, he needs to advise us of some pre-show notes and disclaimers
so that we are fully aware of what we are getting into.
Over the next twenty minutes, Cole goes through almost twenty points of reference for us, stressing that there is no beginning, its middle is pointless and the ending is endless. And the following forty minutes? Well that would almost ruin the surprise, but it does involve a number of dated pop references (although it depends how old you are because I knew pretty much all of them) and ties to 1990 American submarine spy thriller and Sean Connery film, The Hunt for Red October.
Wall endears themselves to the audience through their warm, funny, vulnerable and (in a good way) unhinged personality. Even when there's a slight tech issue at the beginning, the way that Wall remains within the realm of the show and engages with the crowd makes them even more delightful and relatable, and leaves you wondering if this is all part of the act...
If ever there was a show whose title delivered exactly what it said it would, it's Stew Walker's Silly Love Songs. Armed with a guitar and an arsenal of dad jokes, Walker sings his way through a number of songs around love that reflect his unique perspective of being married for 35 years.
Walker has a warm stage presence and the premise for the show is interesting, especially as it's not often you hear a straight, white, older male sincerely discussing love and relationships. Through a mix of original songs and parodies, he covers a variety of topics mainly about how things have changed in dating since he got hitched, so there's songs around consent, dating apps and even a love pentagon.
Saturday 1 April 2023
Dr. Brown Beturns is Dr. Brown's return to the Melbourne International Comedy Festival in 11 years. Having seen his award winning show back then, there was much excitement and anticipation as I took my seat in the theatre to see what wackiness he has concocted after all this time. Performed entirely in silence - with the exception of a few grunts - Dr. Brown portrays an older man who despite living a simple life, has not lost his cheeky spark.
Audience participation is a staple in this show, and sitting in the back is not going to protect you. You can smell the fear emanating from audience members as Dr. Brown sniffs out who his volunteer will be. What was particular joyful about this night was the slight audience revolt, with those on stage (playfully) not taking any of his shit, making even Dr. Brown not know what was going to happen next and improvise where scenes went. It is always fascinating to watch the power dynamics between performer and audience volunteer unfold.