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Arts Reviews

Posted 1 May 2017 @ 12:34pm

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After being told by a friend that she purposely buys pink pens as a means of stopping men in her office from stealing them, Melbourne native Yianni Agisilaou becomes perplexed and astonished by this notion and falls down the rabbit hole of the bizarre rules, double standards and ridiculous expectations that are lobbed at both sexes by society.
 
This is the...

Posted 24 Apr 2017 @ 10:17am

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Walking into Magic Steven’s show, audience members are instantly subject to a dark, quiet space, meditative music faintly backgrounding, a single mic and full glass of water. It is here we suspect an insight of thoughts, discussion perhaps? And out comes Magic Steven, of simple neat wear, yet both shoelaces unlaced, dragging against the floor as he approaches the...

Posted 20 Apr 2017 @ 5:41pm

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Best known for his TV work (QI, Never Mind The Buzzcocks), the hilarious Phill Jupitus has made a fantastic first (in-person) impression with Australian audiences.
 
Jupitus’ style isn’t one of quick-fire gags – he’s a meandering storyteller, favouring a slow-burn approach. He plays to his strengths as a wonderfully charismatic speaker, his audience hanging off...

Posted 20 Apr 2017 @ 5:34pm

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Don’t be fooled by the laid-back Californian drawl, Arj Barker is a comedian who genuinely cares about his craft. Checking his dictaphone repeatedly upon arriving on stage, Barker explains that he records his shows to constantly improve.
 
And a carefully constructed show it is. Barker has worked hard on Organic – he tells us various times throughout – including...

Posted 20 Apr 2017 @ 5:29pm

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Cooking For No One is the solo show from one half of the acclaimed improv duo The Bear Pack, Carlo Ritchie. In this engrossing and rib-tickling hour of storytelling, Ritchie steps out on his own to great success.
 
Ritchie is an articulate gentleman, whose chief specialty as a solo performer is spinning an entertaining yarn. That much is clear from the outset,...

Posted 20 Apr 2017 @ 3:28pm

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The sheer size of the Melbourne International Comedy Festival gives power to its patrons to take a chance and find some hidden gems. This amusing hour from Nic Sampson definitely rates as a satisfying treat begging to be discovered, boasting a deceptively complex blend of stand-up and theatre.
 
First, a word about Sampson’s venue: he’s forced to make the best...

Posted 20 Apr 2017 @ 2:27pm

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From the moment Geraldine Quinn sprints from behind the theatre curtain, your attention is entirely forfeit to her surreal, sequin-studded domain of cabaret. Her wide-eyed energy fills every spare crevice of the room, bounding between stage and audience with a bombastic euphoria.
 
Across the course of the one-hour show, Quinn wittily whisks us through the...

Posted 20 Apr 2017 @ 2:18pm

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Table 17! is a play about the volatility of "black sheep" at wedding receptions, with a table of clashing misfits in the back corner – including poisonous aunts, drunk uncles and disapproving sisters – edging closer to spilling some serious family secrets before the day's done.
 
With a premise based on real events, the stage should be set and primed for some...

Posted 20 Apr 2017 @ 2:08pm

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Personality can be a powerful, transformative presence – it can fill a room, ease against the boundaries of its walls and stretch a cupboard into a stadium.
  
When the audience enters Michael Chamberlin's world, he addresses its formal nature – it's modestly sized with frumpy decor and the air-conditioner makes a weird grinding sound every five minutes or so....

Posted 19 Apr 2017 @ 2:21pm

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Judith Lucy and Denise Scott’s Disappointments is a show you should take your mum to. Your aunty perhaps. Maybe even your grandma if she’s sufficiently mobile. It is not a show to take a first date to. Particularly if your date is a heterosexual male in his early thirties.
 
I learned this the hard way.
 
My blunder dawned on me upon entering the...

Posted 19 Apr 2017 @ 2:08pm

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Though the festival program this year is jam-packed with stand-up, The Bear Pack possess the kind of improv prowess that will leave anyone second-guessing a schedule of scripted shows full of over-rehearsed zingers.
 
Showcasing an expertise in long-form improvised 'yarns', Steen Raskopoulos and Carlo Ritchie are a pair of gifted comedic alchemists, boasting...

Posted 19 Apr 2017 @ 1:51pm

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Draw a through line starting with Agatha Christie, take a detour via the Carry On films, take a turn at the choose-your-own-adventure books and if you're lucky you'll find yourself aboard Murder on the Pacific Diamond, a comic murder mystery set aboard a luxury cruise liner. All of which begs a question: is murder ever funny? Well, in the hands of Marcus Willis and Andy...

Posted 17 Apr 2017 @ 3:00pm

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It takes just two awesome comedians and a paddling pool to revive (quite literally) '80s black comedy, Weekend at Barnie’s, in this fabulous and high-energy act. In a hilarious mix of sketches and stand-up Dani Cabs & Barnie Duncan take us on a wild and raucous journey through the makings of a comedy show, there is a big catch however – one of them is dead.
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Posted 17 Apr 2017 @ 2:49pm

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Deep inside the barracks of Howey Place’s art gallery, Fort Delta, an effervescent bundle of satirical fun awaited to unleash her goofy boot camp on a willing crowd.
 
If you arrived in activewear thinking the kale, lemons and yoga mat featured in Bec Somers press shot would be literally incorporated then your interpretation of An Evening of Total BS was...

Posted 17 Apr 2017 @ 2:44pm

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Have you ever wondered what would happen if you took a first date skydiving? Or considered how you might approach meeting someone’s parents only to discover one was a pirate? Well look no further.
 
The Bachela-la-la is the ramped up dating show that is devised for the audience by the audience. The contestants are yours to create and the best thing is that no...

Posted 17 Apr 2017 @ 2:31pm

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To pull back the curtain on this whole reviewing caper, there’s enough thoughts and impressions of Sam Simmons’ new show to fill a small notebook – the sum total of which, without context, would likely serve as grounds for psychiatric assessment.
 
What would any reasonable person make of the phrases, "Knox City escalator to nowhere”, “Vienetta...

Posted 13 Apr 2017 @ 5:34pm

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During his show, Dom Chambers makes reference to a poll that found magicians were the least dateable entertainers (really? In a world where mimes still exist?). There seems to be a kind of endemic low self-esteem that plagues most modern magicians, Chris Angel and that box bloke notwithstanding.
 
Chambers uses this trait to careful dramatic effect to set up...

Posted 13 Apr 2017 @ 3:13pm

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In a cosy boudoir at the Speakeasy HQ Vaults, a small yet eager audience awaits the arrival of their comedian. The lights are faded and the mood is ambient, yet Ben McCarthy is about to shake that up.
 
As the proclaimed funny man enters, he catches sight of a viewer’s phone ringing and with a swipe of a hand he answers with an interrogative, ‘What time does it...

Posted 13 Apr 2017 @ 3:00pm

 

 
The show has a great premise: it’s a farce about two spies and their handlers who converge on a conference in the Swiss Alps to assassinate the same diplomatic target, whereupon pretty much everything goes tits up. Sadly, the show just didn’t live up to the promise of espionage, intrigue and laughs. In short, it’s not funny. I attended with three other MICF fans and...

Posted 13 Apr 2017 @ 2:55pm

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Keeping an audience glued to their seats and gripped to your every word is no easy feat, especially when your audience is predominantly made up of people under the age of 12 - yet Sean Murphy has mastered it perfectly. Ghost Jam! takes our young audience into the world of traditional Japanese ghost stories through fascinating sounds, images, costumes and barrels of...

Posted 13 Apr 2017 @ 2:28pm

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The title of Christian Lutz’s show is ironic. The dude’s been on the shitty end of life’s stick for a while now. In the wake of the demise of his long-term relationship with his partner and the mother of his two kids, Lutz is now navigating the world as a newly single dad and he’s only just starting to get a handle on WTF it all means.
 
Today, Lutz is doubly...

Posted 13 Apr 2017 @ 2:18pm

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Paying absolute homage to everyone’s favourite elixir, These Things Take Wine leads us on a wild journey through police arrests and hungover mornings in the grittiest, yet most entertaining form of cabaret you might have ever seen.
 
Waking up on stage looking a little worse for wear, Tash York quickly captivates the audience with phenomenal vocals and...

Posted 13 Apr 2017 @ 1:51pm

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Making his second appearance at MICF at the tender age of 19, Blake Everett or The King of Nothing is here to show you some of the finest comedy that the festival has to offer. Do not be discouraged by his youthful age - Blake knows his stuff, carries the stage like a comedy veteran, (looks around 25 anyway) and has the audience in stitches throughout the hour.
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Posted 11 Apr 2017 @ 11:38am

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If Ilana Glazer and Courtney Barnett morphed into one alcohol-drinking, party-crashing, drunk-messaging-women-that-she-admires-online being, it would pretty much resemble Becky Lucas. Her blunt, honest and much too relatable show, Little Bitch, left me thinking ‘fuck I need to be friends with this girl’. And then I went and drank a whole heap of wine (because she talked...

Posted 11 Apr 2017 @ 11:34am

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Irish comedian Dara Ó Briain talks so fast it’s hard to keep pace, but once you’ve mentally switched it up several gears (Ó Briain urges us to just “listen faster”), his irrepressible glee is contagious. It’s hard to imagine Ó Briain having a bad time and he works overtime to make damn sure we’re enjoying ourselves every bit as much.
 
Ó Briain’s six foot plus...

Posted 11 Apr 2017 @ 11:28am

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The first rule of going to comedy shows is to not, no matter what, walk in late. Asbestos surveyor Mark obviously didn’t get the memo. Honestly, neither did I, but I was better at getting to my seat quickly, looking boring enough not to get called out. Sorry Mark.
 
By now, Wil Anderson has well and truly earned the title of Melbourne International Comedy...

Posted 11 Apr 2017 @ 11:23am

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Whether he intrinsically can’t escape or chooses to comically indulge, former accountant Dilruk Jayasinha may never be able to evade the business order.
 
His apparel – suit jacket over tee – suggests he was in a rush coming from his day job and forgot to strip the outer-garment. His show title, The Art Of The Dil, lands a few letters shy of Donald Trump’s...

Posted 11 Apr 2017 @ 11:16am

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If I told you I went to see ex-Australian footballer Dane Swan in conversation with journalistic jumping jack Titus O’Reily you’d probably distinguish the occasion as some sort of April Fools’ presser or satirical footy panel show.
 
You’d never envisage the event as a member of the Melbourne International Comedy Festival family, nevertheless, as they sat face...

Posted 11 Apr 2017 @ 10:47am

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Horror-comedies are often a fiddly dichotomy to maintain - drift too heavily into one of the realms, and you run the risk of discrediting the opposing force. The trick is to understand the purpose to the frenetic nature of the fused genres, and with their latest show Go To Hell!, comedy trio Watson wield a laser-like focus on the qualities that each world can offer the...

Posted 11 Apr 2017 @ 10:46am

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If you’re looking for a hilarious, laid back evening at this year’s comedy festival, than New Zealand's Tim Batt is your man. Taking place in the basement room of Caz Reitop’s Dirty Secrets Bar, the intimate Ladies and Gentlemen manages to weave fast paced energy and rapid fire jokes with a casual attitude. Batt’s laid-back demeanour quickly works to create a carefree...

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