Tag: Melbourne Comedy Festival 2011

REVIEW: Sammy J and Randy in BIN NIGHT

A show about rubbish that’s anything but garbage!

By Jen Coles

Comedian Sammy J and puppet Randy (Heath McIvor) have unique style of comedy featuring music, sketches and generally unexplainable madness that is extremely successful in their latest comedy festival outing, Bin Night. It tells the story of the two attempting to catch a predator who has been putting rubbish in their bin, which, as Sammy J reminds us, is against council laws.

However tenuous the plot may be (I still question whether it has enough development to last an hour), you’ll quickly discover it’s not really necessary to analyse. The events that follow therein are just a vehicle for the team to banter and play for laughs, which they do extremely successfully.

They poked fun at being on hold for an hour (as they lock themselves out of their home, and the alarm system accuses them of being sex offenders), sing songs featuring various pieces of fruit, and of course, make fun of various members of the audience. Indeed, the more “serious” aspects of the show were still hilarious; Randy’s backstory of love and hardship featured in song was peppered by random facts about life from Sammy J (including those about Belinda Carlisle), and the ultimate denouement was still handled with frivolity. 

The pair’s musical ability should also be highlighted. Sammy J’s piano (and keytar) multi-tasking skills held the more intimate numbers together well, and were a lovely contrast to the bigger production numbers. Indeed, it was nice to see Sammy emerge from behind the piano to dance and play with Randy; the pair’s chemistry and energy is outstanding.

It’s also a testament to the skill of the pair that the show was relaxed enough to cover spontaneous mistakes. The show was particularly off-one for them, and they covered it with professionalism and enjoyed the little mess- ups, which doesn’t often happen.

One note I would provide was regarding sound. Using stage microphones the pair were free to move and sing as needed, with the sound level up high enough to support their voices. However, because the show required so much energy (and occasionally yelling), I noticed their voices were tiring early and thought they should rely more on the excellent sound team they had at their disposal.

Bin Night was hilarious! I enjoyed myself immensely. Go see it… and don’t think too much.

2011 MELBOURNE INTERNATIONAL COMEDY FESTIVAL

VENUE: The Hi Fi (MOVED TO BIGGER VENUE TO MEET DEMAND)
TIME: 7pm (Sun 6pm)
DATES: 31 Mar – 24 April (excl Mon)

2011 SYDNEY COMEDY FESTIVAL

VENUE: The Metro
TIME: 7:30pm
DATES: Sat 30th April & Sun 1st May

REVIEW: Eleni Avraam in TOXIC WASTE

Sex-a-holic beats the Choco-holics this Easter!

By Deborah Langley  

This year the Easter Weekend has a spring in its step down in South Melbourne. Last night, despite the deserted streets and empty roads, a lively crowd was gathering at The Butterfly Club for the second night of Eleni Avraam’s Toxic Waste – A Love Story

Inside the intimate space the audience were treated to the ultimate warm-up to any cabaret as the pianist Rowland Brache vamped some classic tunes arranged and played with toe-tapping warmth and style.  

Once the show begins, we meet Betty – a yellow-haired, deluded queen, and self-proclaimed slapper

This sex-a-holic allows for some entertaining material full of sex toys, not-so-subtle innuendos and some questionable judgment when she decides she doesn’t mind being the other woman – just not the other, other woman. 

Avraam creates in Betty an annoying yet loveable character who works the audience with nervous delight, but it’s not until she introduces us to Marie, the wife, and the other side of this love story that Avraam truly shines.  

Although at times these characters begin to blend and the lines blur, Avraam finds moment of stillness and honesty which are really magical. 

For me, the show’s best moments come through the interaction between Avraam and her amazingly talented pianist.

With perfect timing, Avraam relishes these moments of personal interaction and Brache provides a solid yet silent creative and emotional support for this no-holds-barred cabaret. 

Toxic Waste – A Love Story dares to explore relationships as they disillusion, disappoint and dissolve.

Based on pure fiction (or so we’re told), Toxic Waste is brutally poignant, viciously honest, disturbingly raw and witty as hell.

 

So, if you want a have good chuckle this Easter Weekend (without your family!), head down to the home of the Melbourne cabaret scene, The Butterfly Club, 7pm tonight (Saturday) or 6pm tomorrow (Sunday) for the last two nights of this fun one-woman cabaret show – with 2 women.

REVIEW: Linda Beatty is THE UNENCHANTED PRINCESS

This comedy cabaret show is the perfect mixture of naughty and nice…!

By Lisa Nightingale

Whimsical, magical and hysterical –  Linda Beatty as The UnEnchanted Princess had a cozy audience in stitches while she told us of the obvious yet never-realised truths and ironies about our beloved childhood fairytales.

With the help of her magic harp and imaginary dinosaur friend, Ralph, Beatty was able to take us to a ‘whole new world’ of Disney tales that made me giggle for an entire hour.

Starting with her very well-written Intro Song which got her ‘from the back of the room to the front of the room’, I knew I was in for a good evening.

The stage was set with a green-covered table, a stool and flowers hanging from the distinctive red Butterfly Club stage curtain – we were obviously in a meadow, and I was only waiting for little animated birdies to fly out of the ceiling.

Linda Beatty appeared instead. With her flowing red hair, white flighty gown, fishnets and boots, she had the perfect mix of naughty and nice.

Going into the stories of all of my favourite Disney princesses, Beatty blew me away with her incredible Celtic harp music, which she has played for twenty years… and she is a master at it! The songs throughout the show just exuded quirkiness and fun, and had me smiling so much my cheeks hurt.

My favourite part of the show is when she introduces us to her loveable imaginary Tyrannosaurus Rex friend who is so real that he even has his own solo!

Or it could be her adult’s only rendition of Aladdin’s A Whole New World which has now cleverly twisted the whole meaning of this song forever more.

Both in music and script, Beatty’s well-written comedy is playful, energetic and entertaining and everyone that sees this show will relate to the tales that she tells.

It embraces childhood memories, but also makes you glad that we now are adults to be able to enjoy a new layer to these stories that were once so silly and innocent.

Make sure you get down to The Butterfly Club during 14th -17th April for the Melbourne Comedy Festival so you don’t miss this comedy craze.

Tickets can be booked via www.thebutterflyclub.com, and check out Linda’s website too.

Have fun!

REVIEW: Analisa Bell in GOLD-DIGGER

Digging for festival gold in Melbourne, cabaret-style…

By Deborah Langley

 After two sell-out seasons in Perth, cabaret starlet Analisa Bell has brought her cabaret spoof Gold-Digger to Melbourne for the International Comedy Festival. The intimate and wonderfully quirky Butterfly Club is the perfect setting for this show as we are welcomed at the door to Rosie’s house. But Rosie who?

Rosie Port-e-lou (the infamous wife of mining magnate, Sam Bankock – you with us yet?) makes a grand entrance with a robust version of Hey Big Spender, asking audience members, “How about a few laps?” with a politically incorrect and hilarious accent which guarantees all the laughs instead.

The first half of the show is dedicated solely to the life and times of Rosie as she moves from the Philippines to marry a millionaire in Western Australia. This is material which I’m sure gained much more interest in Perth than it will in Melbourne but Bell’s magical voice and terrible accent moved things along, albeit slowly.

It isn’t until Rosie storms out halfway through that this show really begins to shine. Audiences are in for a treat when she jumps back onto stage to teach us all how to catch a man and keep him as this seemingly standard cabaret turns into a twisted revue, complete with dancing pooches, audience interaction and free lollypops (to practice the sucky sucky!).

With some wonderful musical arrangements and interesting lyrical changes the music is the standout of this production. The awkward, but obviously talented accompanist Tim Cunniffe proves a weird straight-man to this surprising show which will leave you shaking your head but smiling at the same time.

Gold-Digger: The Shags to Riches of Australia’s Iron ‘ore is being performed as part of the Comedy Festival from March 31-April 3 at The Butterfly Club in South Melbourne. 7pm (6pm Sun) and bookings can be made online: www.thebutterflyclub.com

 

REVIEW: Simon Taylor in PIECES OF MIND

“For a very funny show, you sure do learn a lot about human behavior…!”

by Christine Moffat

Simon Taylor’s new cabaret show Pieces of Mind is an entertaining combination of comedy, psychology and good old-fashioned showbiz mind-reading. 

The show’s opening preview evening at The Butterfly Club for the Melbourne Comedy Festival enjoyed a full house, including a group of skeptics that had come along to check out both Taylor’s methods and his success rate. However, by the end of the evening, they were forced to admit he turned out to be 100% accurate!

Taylor’s performance style is a cross between stand-up comedian,  psychologist and TV psychic.  It’s a strange blend, but it works because Taylor is a charming and warm performer who engages and involves his audience from the very beginning as he explains his concept of putting together pieces of “the mind puzzle” with a little bit of help from us. 

Taylor takes us through some basic social psychology such as conformity and lie theory, and breaks the concepts down without making it feel like he is spoon-feeding his audience.  Moreover, an unexpected extra level is brought to the show when Taylor sneaks in a surprising subtext of tolerance and the universality of the human condition. 

Oh, and did I mention he brings Sigmund Freud to the show?!  As Taylor himself says, “I can’t sleep without him…”

If you’re now thinking, “See Pieces of Mind – Simon Taylor will surprise you, and he’ll impress you, and most of all, he’ll make you laugh” – then you read my mind!

Simon Taylor stars in Pieces of Mind for the Melbourne Comedy Festival 2011

Venue: The Butterfly Club, 204 Bank St, South Melbourne

Dates: Tuesday 29 March to Sunday  24 April (no shows Mondays). Previews all 1st week.

Tickets: Full $22, Concession $19, Groups $18 (8+), Previews & Tightarse Tuesdays $15

Times: Tuesdays, Wednesdays & Sundays at 8pm; Thursdays, Fridays & Saturdays at 9pm

Bookings: www.thebutterflyclub.com

Duration: 60 minutes approx

Graduate Gossip: MELBOURNE COMEDY FESTIVAL

Comedy Cabaret! Wondering what to see for this year’s festival? How about…

TOXIC WASTE: A LOVE STORY

Have you met Davo? Tall, handsome, muscular, romantic, a great dancer… and made of cardboard.

Hasn’t stopped him cheating on both his wife Marie AND his girlfriend Betty, but this time the girls are out for some hilarious revenge!

Eleni Avraam stars in Toxic Waste: A Love Story (accompanied by Rowland Brache, directed by Kim Edwards)

Venue: The Butterfly Club, 204 Bank St, Sth Melb
Dates: 21st  – 24th April
Tickets: $22 Full, $19 Conc, $18 Group (8+)
Times: Thur – Sat 7pm, Sun 6pm
Booking: www.thebutterflyclub.com or at the door

PARISIAN FRANK’S PLASTIC ROSE CABARET 

This is the Absurd and Romantic tale of Parisian Frank, a French Cabaret Star who:
•    sings about love
•    dispenses advice about love
•    unfortunately knows nothing about love.

But that doesn’t stop him.

Join him and his mute Cabaret apprentice Neville, as they journey through the “Seven Magical Plastic Roses of Love”…

Anthony Dillon stars in Parisian Frank’s Plastic Rose Cabaret

Venue: Northcote Town Hall, 189 High St
Dates: April  8, 10, 14, 15, 16, 17, 19, 21, 22, 23, 24. Previews April 1, 2, 3
Tickets: $17 full, $13 conc, group (3+), preview, Laugh Pack, Tightarse Tuesday
Times:   8:30pm
Booking: Ticketmaster 1300 660 013, www.northcotetownhall.com.au or at the door

THE BIG (KITTY) BANG THEORY

Melbourne Comedy Festival favourite Kitty Bang is back: bigger, bolder and with more krazy new Kitty-isms than ever before! If you like your cabaret contemporary, colourful and gloriously camped-up, this show is sassy, saucy and tonnes of good ol’ Kitty fun!

Kate Boston-Smith stars in The Big (Kitty) Bang Theory

Venue: The Imperial Hotel, Cnr Bourke & Spring St
Dates: 5 – 21 April (not Mondays). Previews Thur 31 March – Sun 3 April
Tickets: $23/$19 ($18 Tightarse Tuesday)
Times: 7pm, 6pm Sundays
Booking: www.ticketmaster.com.au or 1300 660 013

Melbourne Comedy Festival Presents TOXIC WASTE: A LOVE STORY

Love never runs smooth when the man of your dreams is a 6ft cardboard cut-out called Davo…

There are always two sides to every story.  Hers – and hers…

Marie is Vesuvius on legs and a betrayed wife. 
Betty is a deluded bullsh*t queen and a slapper. 
And then there’s – Davo.

This love triangle is not going to end well… 

Toxic Waste is a gut-wrenchingly funny one-woman cabaret show – with 2 women.  It takes a surprising look at both sides of a (perverse) relationship with one man and no holds barred.   Violently funny, brutally poignant, viciously honest… and witty as hell!

About 10 years ago, it became bleedingly obvious to Melbourne’s own Eleni Avraam that she had a damn fine set of lungs & so she did all she could to use them to full capacity.  Although initially shy, she attended singers’ festivals, joined choirs, screamed in the car & yodelled at the end of piers. 

After completing the Melbourne Cabaret Course, Eleni decided  to do her first solo stage performance, auditioned and was accepted for the Short+Sweet Cabaret festival, and was promptly invited as a featured cabaret artist at The Butterfly Club for the Melbourne Comedy Festival.

You can meet Eleni, Marie, Betty and Davo himself in person at Toxic Waste: A Love Story for the Comedy Festival in April. But book fastDavo seems to have already got himself a fan club…

Toxic Waste: A Love Story

Written & Performed by Eleni Avraam

Accompanied by Rowland Brache

Directed by Kim Edwards 

Venue: The Butterfly Club, 204 Bank Street, Sth Melbourne
Dates: 21st  – 24th April
Tickets: $22 Full, $19 Conc, $18 Group 8+
Times: Thur – Sat 7pm, Sun 6pm
Bookings: www.thebutterflyclub.com or via the Melbourne Comedy Festival