Sunday 31 March 2024

M is for Melbourne: The World’s Mostly* Liveable City review (Melbourne International Comedy Festival)

Julian O'Shea has been telling fascinating stories about design, cities and Melbourne for a number of years but this has predominantly been through YouTube and other forms of online media. But this year, O'Shea has brought his unique knowledge to the Comedy Festival with M is for Melbourne: The World’s Mostly* Liveable City.

As O'Shea implies in the opening minutes of the show, this is not a comedy with someone standing on stage and cracking jokes. While there are many funny moments here, O'Shea gives little known facts about Melbourne, like why we have no inflatable tube guys and just how useful the Collins Street bike lane is (which I never even knew existed!), as well as focusing on some celebrated Melbourne monuments, like the Montague Street Bridge.

O'Shea's winsome online personality shines through in person. Dressed in a cartoon road map (like the rugs you would play with as a kid), you immediately get a sense of his playful nature and the route the show is going to take. He is a wonderful storyteller who finds a very good balance of informing us about our city and slipping in jokes or humorous observations.

While an A-Z format can often lead to reduced engagement as we work our way through the alphabet (and eagerly await to see what X will bring), O'Shea uses a variety of props and visual and audio cues that retain our interest through the entire show, including a banging dance track that is truly iconic of Melbourne lifestyle and culture.

M is for Melbourne: The World’s Mostly* Liveable City may be an entertaining evening learning about Melbourne's quirks, but it is also a reminder that all these things have happened because of people seeking to protect this city and make it better for its residents. It's a gentle call-to-arms for Melbournians to keep looking for ways to improve this city so that we can continue play and have fun (and reclaim our top spot from Vienna as the official world's most liveable city!).


Venue: DoubleTree by Hilton, 270 Flinders St, Melbourne
 until 7 April | 5:30pm
 50 minutes
 $34 Full | $29 Conc and Tightarse Tuesday
 Melbourne International Comedy Festival

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