Tag: MICF 2013


Some thin spots filled out with big laughs

By Matthew Farmer

In the biggest theatre space in the Melbourne Town Hall last night, we were treated to international comedy star Arj Barker, and his one-man show for MICF – Go Time! This is his philosophy of not letting your ego get in the way of something you might do in the future, because despite what that crazy little red-head tells you, tomorrow is not a day away, it does not exist. You are now. Your heart is now, its go time, right now. A great idea and a great message, but when mixed with toilet humour, it doesn’t quite stand for the whole sixty minutes.

Arj Barker

The show starts with a musical number, which was a genuine surprise. It then continues through some poignant social commentary, embarrassing admissions, local restaurant reviews, all interspersed with 2013 copyrighted Arj Barker-isms, such as go build a pyramid and get to the point, or go get yourself a deck of cards, and deal with it.

The role of a comedian is to look at life from a unique point of view, to engage with you and to have you see the world through their altered eye sight. Arj made some strong comments about the factories in China making iPhones, the environment and the notion of ‘job creation’, which had you thinking, and then he dropped a comedy bomb onto you: showing you an empty palm on the left, while smacking you in the face with his right.

Arj engages with the audience well, and never misses a beat. If a joke fails, he owns it and then moves on. I have previously only seen Arj Barker on comedy festival specials or TV shows where he only has a bit part to play. To see him live for a whole 60 minutes however, felt a little forced. The front of the show worked well and was strong, but the ends were just a little bit frayed, although it did end with great toilet humour and another song and dance. Plus, he mingled with the public in the foyer right after for merchandise and photo opportunities, which is always good to see in a celebrity.

Arj’s show Go Time is a show that comes from his heart, has a lot of energy and good intentions. He will try his darnedest to uplift you and gosh darn, if it doesn’t work on some level for you.

Arj Barker’s Go Time is playing all Festival long at the Town Hall, except for Mondays. Tickets are $33 – $42.50 and can be bought online at ticket master, or at the venue.

Review: DEANNE SMITH’s Let’s Do This

From awkward beginnings to utter charm

By Bradley Storer

About eight seconds after psyching up herself and the audience with Survivor’s Eye of the Tiger, comedian Deanne Smith cuts the music short and admits ‘I can’t maintain this level of energy for very long’.

Smith opens with a ukulele tune in which she recruits the audience to interject at her command with the title of her show – the song never really managed to gain momentum since Smith was constantly forced to stop and wait for the audience’s response, and this made for a slightly awkward opening. After this small bump in the road though, her show Let’s Do It for the Melbourne International Comedy Festival picks up and soars.

Deanne Smith

The main thrust of Smith’s show is an examination of her inability to be a self-confident and secure person, gleefully dissecting her various neuroses to side-splitting and, at times, jaw-dropping effect.

Smith’s strength is her innate sweetness and lovability, which allows her to delve into some unexpectedly filthy and dark places (at my particular performance, even Smith herself remarked at several points, surprised ‘You all got on board with that!’). Topics range from the unfortunate implications of the term ‘femi-nazis’ and her hatred of penguins to a remarkably optimistic view of humanity’s current effects on the environment.

Interspersed throughout are many moments of audience participation, people individually to be sung at, called up to assist onstage or to take photos during the show (for one particular section, I’d advise bringing along a friend to save potential embarrassment). The hour show flies by and it would be hard to imagine anyone who would not be doubled over in laughter by the end.

DATES: 30th MARCH – 21st APRIL

TIME: 9:45 (8:45 Sunday)


TICKETS: Full $25, Preview $20, Tightarse Tuesday $20, Laugh Pack (n/a Fri & Sat) $20, Concession $20 (n/a Fri & Sat), Group (8+) (N/A Fri & Sat) $20

BOOKINGS: www.ticketmaster.com.au, Phone – 1300 660 013, www.comedyfestival.com.au, Melbourne Town Hall Box Office