Tag: Melbourne International Comedy Festival 2013

REVIEW: Jared Jekyll’s LOONEY BIN

Crazy in all the right ways

By Jennifer Coles

If you’re looking for a broader range of entertainment and excitement crammed into your comedy show, Jared Jekyll’s Looney Bin is definitely the way to go.

One of the most promising (and certainly the most energetic) comedians to come out of Sydney, Jared Jekyll has created an unstoppable hour of beatboxing, magic, comedy and showmanship.  Jekyll’s self-deprecating and honest style of comedy is refreshing, and throughout the show he maintains a fantastic presence and relationship with the audience.

Jared Jekyll

Jekyll divides the show into several sections (or “bits” as he calls them), which focus around a certain topic or section. An absolute delight was his beatboxing section utilising a loop pedal, where he explains the basic functions of the equipment he was using, and proceeded to record his own voice and quite often afterwards, argue with it. He interspersed this with discussions with a parrot, magic tricks, and of course, puns.  His sections occasionally discussed the show’s broader themes, and he occasionally touched on a plot designed to keep the show running through.

Despite the energy and professionalism Jekyll displayed during the show, he was let down slightly by the script. The divisions between the sections of the show required stronger links to each other, however entertaining the individual portions were.

It appeared to be a show that could have utilised either a story and plot for its entirety, or just the standard storytelling usual in stand-up comedy shows. Because Looney Bin covered several different types of performance, and several different stories, better links were needed to keep the flow going.

In spite of that, I laughed myself silly. Jekyll displays amazing promise and dedication to his craft, and he is quite clearly going to have a long career. Looney Bin is hilarious, witty, and filled with surprises.  A wonderful and manic night out.

Dates: 18 – 21 April at 9.30 pm

Venue: Word Warehouse, 14 Goldie Place, Melbourne

Prices: $10-$15

Bookings: MICF online

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REVIEW: Felicity Ward in THE HEDGEHOG DILEMMA

Smooth Response to Prickly Comedy

By Darcy Whitsed

“When I first heard it, I thought it was about how hedgehogs had sex”, was how the audience was greeted by the extremely enthusiastic and hilarious Felicity Ward in her one-night-only Melbourne International Comedy Festival show The Hedgehog Dilemma.

In a show that went against almost all expectations of a live stand-up comedy performance, Ward had the audience engrossed in her outrageous personal anecdotes centered on the Freudian theory of hedgehog-related human intimacy.

Felicity Ward

After appearing as her own pre-show entertainment in a pair of bright pink high heels, tight black singlet and bike shorts and introducing the special DVD filming of the show, the audience was treated Ward’s story that ranged from her watching television alone in sadly unused wedding attire to discovering her potential as a comedian.

This journey was charismatically told with the help of surprisingly ocker sexual innuendos, a cute photo montage (with the shocking punchline of male genitalia), incredible physicality and moments of characterisation. Ward utilized every aspect of her gangly comic arsenal to have the responsive audience in stitches at each twist and turn.

The real charm of the show came from Ward’s unashamed connection to the material. Born from her personal experiences and despite being sad, embarrassing or hilarious, it was all put on display for the audience’s entertainment. The great story-telling within the show gave it an excellent sense of progression and drew the audience into Felicity’s wacky and wonderful world.

The show briefly lulled as the material fell into the clichéd realm of self-deprecating, alcoholic comedian whose life was so dysfunctional it couldn’t possibly be used for anything besides comedy. But this was not enough to taint the performance overall and when the hope-filled and unexpectedly serious conclusion arrived, it actually helped create a great sense of contrast and again surprised the audience by going against their expectations.

The Hedgehog Dilemma came to a teary close for both Ward and audience alike as it was performed for the last time in Australia, which in my opinion is a huge shame. I highly recommend picking up the DVD of this show when it arrives on shelves to anyone that loves comedy, drama, amazing story-telling, hedgehogs or penis-jokes.

The Hedgehog Dilemma was performed at Athenaum Theatre, Monday 15th April 2013.

Review: NELLIE WHITE’S ONE-HANDED SHOW – An Introduction to Pornography..

Gird your loins and come for the comedy

By Vikki Doig

Sex, vagina, penis, pubes, ball slappage – doesn’t it just feel better to say these things out loud? And that’s exactly what Nellie White’s One-Handed Show: An Introduction to Pornography for the Melbourne International Comedy Festival seeks to do.

Nellie White

I haven’t always enjoyed porn. As a young innocent I felt particularly uncomfortable at the sights and sounds of people’s carnal bliss. However, as I grew older and wiser in my sexual journey, it became comforting to see people try new things (sometimes things that seemed logistically impossible!) but, more importantly, sex became less scary – even funny! So how could I pass up the opportunity to see a fellow pornophile throw social niceties out the window and talk about sex, baby?

Nellie’s One-Handed Show is certainly not for the faint-hearted. There was a clear feeling of trepidation amongst the crowd upon entering the cosy performance space. The first thing I noticed was the distinct lack of people sitting in the front row – as if that’s a surefire way to avoid being called upon in a 24-seat venue. The fear of audience-participation becomes heightened when sexy-talk is involved…

Nellie had an unassuming innocence on stage which immediately endeared her to us and it was refreshing to be slapped in the face with her unexpected explicit punchlines, casual description of threesomes, sexual exploits (or sexploits, if you will) and graphic imagery.

There were times, though, when I felt more like I was listening to a friend talk about what they’d been up to on the weekend than watching a comedy show, and what the show lacked was a cohesive flow, a bit of direction and strong delivery to pull it all together. It was unclear whether it was a show designed to shock us, encourage us to discuss our own sexploits, make us feel uncomfortable, educate us (Nellie really does know a lot about the history of porn!) or all or none of the above.

The concept was bold, confronting and interesting and all the elements of a good show were groped, caressed and touched upon, but it didn’t quite come together on the night.

Venue: The Tuxedo Cat

Dates: April 11-21

Time: 9.45pm (Sunday 8.45pm)

Price: $12-18

Bookings: MICF online

REVIEW: Matt Dyktynski and Bang Mango Cools in EDIBLE PETS

Guaranteed good festival fun

By Tania Herbert

As an audience member, you are one of “The Keno Dancers” waiting for your performance at the Mordialloc Welcome Club. Sharing your backstage green room are Matt and Mango – the wannabe rock duo Edible Pets. Disgruntled musician Matt “Dyk-something-ski” and his sidekick Bang Mango Cools (name changed after a mind-altering trip to Thailand… despite being a middle-class bloke from Diamond Valley) are about to perform their final show, and it’s not exactly in style in the back room of an outer-suburbs pokies venue.

Edible Pets

We travel with Matt and Mango on their journey back through 25 years of musical mediocrity: from 80s’ teens to 90s’ try-hard rappers, to naughties’ new-agers and finally the low point of X-Factor wannabees.

Edible Pets: The Farewell Tour for MICF is nicely constructed, has good flow, great pace and comedy, and lovely audience interaction. Mango played the “Silent Bob” of the duo beautifully, with superb coming timing and understated humor in nice contrast to Matt’s tirade against the world.

The little snippets of song throughout added to the sense of pace and were well-executed, though there seemed to be a few missed comic opportunities in some of the music. However, the “pay off” song at the conclusion of the show was well worth the wait, and Mango’s description of his masterpiece- “It’s f’ing anthetic”- is well deserved.

If you’re in town for the comedy run, this is a good one to chuck on the list. Sweet, light, and personable, it’s like watching a couple of your funniest mates messing around with guitars and awesomely bad mullet wigs. And it’s probably the only time you’ll get the opportunity to see someone rap “the Little Drummer Boy”.

Edible Pets: The Farewell Tour can be seen at The Victoria Hotel 28 March – 21 April, Tues-Sat 8:30pm, Sun 7:30pm.Ticketmaster 1300 660 013, www.comedyfestival.com.au

REVIEW: Graaahm’s DON’T LOOK AT ME

Poetry to ponder…

By Myron My

Don’t Look At Me for MICF stars performance artist Graaahm (Amy Bodossian) – yes, that’s Graaahm with three a’s. Throughout the course of the show Graaahm performs a number of poems and songs for her audience and gives us an insight into her life.

Graaahm’s word play was actually quite intelligent and well thought-out. Hearing her witty rhyming and clever combination of very different ideas into single words was interesting but it didn’t stop this show from becoming very difficult to follow and understand where Graaahm was going with it.

Don't Look At Me

This was in fact the most frustrating thing about Don’t Look At Me – I simply did not know what I was watching. There seemed to be no point to it. As a reviewer, I always ask myself, what is the artist attempting to do? – and I was at a loss here. I walked out of the show – once Graaahm informed the audience that it was over and we could leave – with no more clue as to its purpose as when I walked in.

Visually, the show is rather good. The stage is adorned with a myriad of objects and decorations which are incorporated into the show – even if it is for a few seconds, including that very interesting portrait of Graaahm’s grandmother. Graaahm’s outfit is also something to behold – with many thanks to what I assume is very strong body tape.

There were moments of improvisation in Graaahm’s Don’t Look At Me which worked well, and would rate as the more memorable parts of her show. Her acknowledgement of what was going on outside of the space and bringing it into the show was well executed.

Bodossian definitely possesses talent, skill and wit, but it didn’t come across as well as it could have in this Melbourne International Comedy Festival show.

Venue: The Tuxedo Cat, 17-23 Wills Street

Season: Until 21 April | Mon-Tues, Thurs-Sat 10:45pm, Sun 9:45pm

Tickets: $20 Full | $15 Conc

Bookings: www.ticketmaster.com.au, www.tuxedocat.com.au, or at the door

Review: YON AND HIS PRISM OF SEXY THOUGHTS

As good as its title

By Jessica Cornish

Yon

Yon and His Prism of Sexy Thoughts had a familiar format to the shows of his famous group act – however it was so smothered with sexual references that comparatively it made Tripod look like a family-friendly entertainment band. Don’t worry though, Yon – a.k.a Simon Hall, hasn’t actually left the comedic trio – he’s just expanding his comic horizons at this year’s Comedy Festival.

Yon, or more accurately known as the Man-daddy, was a quirky and amusing front man, backed by talented musicians, SJ (vocals, guitar, tambourine and piano) and Naomune Anzai (synthesiser and backing vocals), and with the trusty drum-machine tucked into a corner.

Wrapped in his red silk dressing gown and slippers, Yon requested his audience watch the proceedings through a veil of sexy thoughts, which was necessary considering the whole show centred around sexual relations, fantasies and troubles with his wife. His audience participation requirements even included throwing a couple torches into the crowd to ensure two free follow-spot operators for the night.

Yon reminisced in the sadness of losing his virginity at the ripe age of 23 to an ex-girlfriend at the time who pitied him. He also talked of more awkward nights where he morphed into a glorified dildo stand for a stripper, which caused tiny tears to fall on to his wife’s pregnant belly. Yes – I know. Want to know what happened next with Mrs Yon though?  You’ll just have to go to the show because I’m not going to tell you!

His songs were slightly and deliberately uncomfortable at times, but continually hilarious. Memorable tunes still looping in my head included such gems as “0.05% Chance Of F&*#ing Her”, and “I’ll Go Back On The Anti-Depressants If You Do Too“.

If you’re a modest and demure being who feels uncomfortable at the thought of sex, this show probably isn’t for you, but for everyone else it will be 60 minutes of high fun and ridiculousness.

Venue: The Butterfly Club (Carson Place off Little Collins St) CBD

Dates: April 11-13 / 18-20

Time: 10.30pm

Price: Full $23, Conc $20, Group (8+) $18

Bookings:

www.ticketmaster.com.au

Ticketmaster 1300 660 013

At the venue 9690 2000

thebutterflyclub.com

At the door

Review: KARIN DANGER’s Hot Box

Making up as she goes – with make up!

By Jessica Cornish

Last night I journeyed to The Butterfly Club at its new inner city location to – er – enter into Karin Danger’s Hot Box… The award-winning musical comedian presented a mix of cleverly written songs and banter throughout the 50 minute cabaret performance for MICF.

Hot Box

Karin has a terrific voice, and belted out some impressive notes with great force and control. Her original songs were animated and well-presented, and some of the lyrics were both clever and intriguing.

However, her dialogue between the musical numbers unfortunately seemed to fall flat most of the time. To be honest, I’m not really sure what the show was about. Her banter was rather confusing and jumped from idea to idea, whilst she sporadically smeared on another layer of makeup, or completed one of many costume changes.

That said, there was definitely a strange audience dynamic for her performance last night. The audience on one side of the room sat almost in silence throughout the entire show, whilst three or four people howled with laughter throughout the evening on the other side of the divide. Unfortunately I was on the quieter side of the room that didn’t quite seem to get the night.

Karin Danger was accompanied throughout by excellent pianist Cameron Thomas. Initially he appeared to be more like the backing track rather than a part of the performance; however he turned out to be quite a colourful character, providing the show with some extra energy.

Reflecting on this festival show, I appreciate that the cabaret comedy of Hot Box is a safe place where Karin can and others are invited to laugh at themselves. Like her show itself, it was clearly when performing her witty songs Karin was most comfortable with herself and us, and could be happy in her own skin – despite the odd imperfection here and there.

When:  April 09- 21, Tue-Wed 8pm, Thu-Sat 9pm, Sun 8pm

Where: The Butterfly Club, Carson Place (Off Little Collins St) CBD

Cost: Full $23 & Conc $20

Booking: Ticketmaster, at the venue 9690 2000, thebutterflyclub.com, at the door