Tag: RAW Comedy

Melbourne Fringe 2016: SCREW LOOSE

Suitably twisted…

By Joana Simmons

This week, the door has opened to the wonderful kingdom that is Melbourne Fringe 2016. Noble artists from across the globe have flocked to our city to strike chords in our hearts, make us fall down and laugh, and everything in between. In Emily Vascotto’s show Screw Loose, the Brisbane performer aims to do it all.  The sneaky secrets of a lovesick stalker are revealed in this comedy cabaret, brimming with belty ballads and a surprising funny story or two. She may have a Screw Loose, but her vocals and stage presence hit the nail on the head.


Confession is the first stage to recovery, and Vascotto opens by getting it all out in the open. Through the showy opening number, we learn there is more in store from the girl next door, and she is not afraid to show a guy she…..likes them. Her facial expressions are captivating and awkward six-year-old physicality is well executed. As each story of each boy unfolds, through these songs we see there are no boundaries to her level of crazy. It’s the combination of sickly sweet and bitter bitch that we all wish we could be. She dives in and asks questions many of us are left playing over and over in our heads, and gutsily opens her heart to an audience member, telling him some twisted truths from her deep and somewhat dark mind, whether he wanted to hear it or not. Throughout, the audience laughs at the snappy one-liners and subtle dry side notes Vascotto effortlessly slips in.

I was most impressed with her singing and vocal versatility. Accompanied by a wonderful pianist who she unfortunately neglected to mention, song choices were a mixture of musical theatre, well-placed pop songs and some comedic character numbers in there too. The formula of song-story-song-story became a little predictable however; maybe injecting more movement, physicality and use of space could spice things up. While the content and writing was definitely unhinged, I would have liked her to show us how creepily wicked she is rather than tell us- there were moments where it felt too safe; there’s nothing that’s more exciting as an audience member to see a beautiful talented woman go full feral Bellatrix Lestrange and let the monster out onstage!

Having won Short and Sweet 2015 Best Cabaret and Best Cabaret Artist, RAW Comedy Finalist Emily Vascotto and her show Screw Loose is definitely creating a stir. Her voice will blow you away and relentless stalking will make you question your own boundaries. You know the drill, book your tickets, because who doesn’t love a loose screw?

Screw Loose at Melbourne Fringe Festival 2016

 When: 14– 19 September, 2016

 Where: The Butterfly Club, 5 Carson Place, Melbourne

 Cost: $32 Full / $28 Concessions /$26 members / $25 Groups (6+)

 Bookings: thebutterflyclub.com or melbournefringe.com.au

REVIEW: Cameron James and Jared Jekyll in PARADISE

Don’t be misled by the picture…

By Margaret Wieringa

Being asked by the usher, ‘Have you got a ticket to Paradise?’ was one of my favourite non-show moments of this year’s Melbourne International Comedy Festival – and what a way to kick off an hour of comedy. By the time I left the room, I was exhausted from laughing.

The premise is that Cameron James and Jared Jekyll are a comedy duo who are invited by a mysterious character to perform at PICF – Paradise Island Comedy Festival. Knowing nothing about it, they head off on an adventure that turns mysterious and dangerous, and it is possible not everyone will return. And there may need to be a hilarious pretend memorial partway through the show.


Once on the island, the pair confront a number of interesting characters including the voodoo chief who shouts in a gibberish cross between rap and the Haka which is translated by another tribe member into a bizarre reggae number. Oh, and there’s the horny heir to the millionaire owner of the island. And not to forget the voyeuristic jungle animals…

These guys are great. Funny, affable and very talented. The show kicks off with their new song, Addiction, which involves some funky guitar, an awful lot of beat-boxing and mime. Big and hilarious mime.

The duo are still relatively new to the comedy world: after coming up through RAW Comedy in 2012 and 2013, Jekyll and James have been busy playing festivals and gigs across the country. It is very difficult to raise yourself above the crowd in a comedy festival with nearly five hundred shows, especially when your time-slot is at 11pm. Yet despite their frankly appalling image in the festival guide, the Locker Room was packed. The audience loved the show, rocking the room with laughter and eagerly participating whenever asked to.

It is fabulous that MICF sees so many familiar names returning and big names coming from overseas, but often my favourite moments come from seeing an act for the first time. Especially when it is an act that clearly has a lot to offer, and hopefully a big future in comedy. It’s a small room and a late night, but Paradise is more than worth the investment.

Venue: Portland Hotel – Locker Room
Dates: 27 March – 19 April (Thurs, Fri and Sat nights) 11pm
Tickets: $20 full, $15 conc
Bookings: http://www.ticketmaster.com.au/, 1300 660 0131300 660 013 or at the door