h

Arts Reviews

Posted 28 Jun 2016 @ 6:12pm

★★

 

As politics in the rest of the world has grown more outrageous, Australian politics has only grown more insipid. The endless campaign of 2016 has devolved into the sloganeering of a group of indistinguishable career politicians, all seeming to say nothing at all to no one in particular. The MTC would seem to have picked the perfect time to bring us Skylight, a political...

Posted 6 Jun 2016 @ 10:13am

★★★

 

The Melbourne Theatre Company’s Double Indemnity is a slick and provocative re-imagining of a classic that suffers from the long shadow of its filmic predecessor and an essential lack of substance.
 
Billy Wilder’s 1944 film version of the novel by James M Cain is one of the most important movies in the western canon and remains the archetypal film noir. Its...

Posted 23 May 2016 @ 6:43pm

★★★★★

 

I still remember the first time I watched Shane Koyczan’s To This Day online. I cried. I laughed. I cried some more. As I headed to see him perform live on stage, I was swelling with emotion ranging from excitement to absolute apprehension. Fluttering fiercely, my stomach butterflies were in flight, for I was about to discover the secrets of a spoken-word show for the...

Posted 18 May 2016 @ 12:07pm

✭✭✭✭

 

Both script and performance shine in the MTC’s latest political satire, Straight White Men. Coming to Australia for the first time, this isa hilarious show, but the script also includes razor sharp social commentaries that will certainly leave you deep in thought.
 
Set in their childhood family lounge room, three brothers gather for Christmas with their dad....

Posted 12 May 2016 @ 11:14pm

 

What to wear? That was the primary dilemma faced ahead of a night at the opera. It was my first time: opening night of La Bohème, which coincided with Opera Australia’s 60th anniversary. I figured the State Theatre would be filled with well-dressed high society types, all flaunting their wealth and superior taste. I didn’t want to pose in tux and tie, so I asked myself, “What would...

Posted 5 May 2016 @ 5:13pm

✭✭✭✭

 

Regardless of Jim Jefferies reputation as being sexist, misogynistic and unapologetically crude, this gal was as eager as ever to see him live in action. When scanning around the audience, it was clear that all the women (secretly) wanted to be with him, all the men wanted to be him, and the others – well, they shouldn’t have been at the show in the first place.
 ...

Posted 5 May 2016 @ 12:34pm

What to wear? That was the primary dilemma faced ahead of a night at the opera. It was my first time: opening night of La Bohème, which coincided with Opera Australia’s 60th anniversary. I figured the State Theatre would be filled with well-dressed high society types, all flaunting their wealth and superior taste. I didn’t want to pose in tux and tie, so I asked myself, “What would Prince do...

Posted 18 Apr 2016 @ 8:52pm

 

It’s 6.45pm and my best friend and I are dressed as Rey and Wednesday Addams respectively. It’s been a long day and the baristas at Starbucks are enthusiastically questioning our garb, their words curious and genuine.
 
“Is it worth going to Supanova?” asks a barista eagerly, who’s feigning cleaning tamp handles on the counter.
 
My friend hesitates, considers...

Posted 14 Apr 2016 @ 10:30pm

✭✭✭✭

 

As crude an expression as it is, Aunty Donna’s New Show is balls-to-the-wall action. Broden Kelly, Zachary Ruane and Mark Samual Bonanno are in exceptionally form here, their hilarious part-singing, part-dancing, sketch-based hyper-mischief something to behold.
 
To see this show is to be swept up in a blizzard of ridiculousness. It’s not difficult to imagine...

Posted 7 Apr 2016 @ 5:32pm

★★★★

 

As crude an expression as it is, Aunty Donna’s New Show is balls-to-the-wall action. Broden Kelly, Zachary Ruane and Mark Samual Bonanno are in exceptional form here, their hilarious part-singing, part-dancing, sketch-based hyper-mischief is something to behold.
 
To see this show is to be swept up in a blizzard of ridiculousness. It’s not difficult to imagine...

Posted 7 Apr 2016 @ 2:38pm

✭✭✭

 

Akmal Saleh is one of Australia’s most spontaneous comedians constructing many of his performances off audience narratives, often arriving on stage without a strategy or detailed script to tackle the ensuing 60 minutes. So having to resort to last minute preparations for his self-titled set at this year’s Melbourne International Comedy Festival didn’t faze the Egyptian-...

Posted 7 Apr 2016 @ 9:56am

★★☆

 

On this next bout of the Melbourne International Comedy Fest, the general populace was drawn into the depths of the Melbourne Town Hall for a show so bizarre that you’d be forgiven for trying to recall the moment when some cheeky shit slipped acid into your drink. Trying to explain it doesn’t do it justice – for this particular performance you’re effectively sitting in a...

Posted 7 Apr 2016 @ 9:34am

✭✭✭✭

 

After two years of touring her acclaimed stand up show, One Lady Rape About Comedy, Adrienne Truscott’s back at MICF with a totally absurd and funny show, One Trick Pony, a performance delivered in a deceptively haphazard tone and apparently scattered energy is also tightly controlled. Truscott has the capacity to be ferociously feminist while making it funny.
 ...

Posted 6 Apr 2016 @ 5:21pm

✭✭✭✭

 

Deceptive beguiling comedy that creeps up on you, I Get the Music in You is a cute and thoroughly entertaining show that gets funnier as it goes along.
 
As an audience member you’re part of a Beginners Music Therapy workshop led by Jan van de Stool. Jan is accompanied by Helen, who is in charge of the tea and coffee in the Scout Hall and who’s also Jan’s...

Posted 6 Apr 2016 @ 2:50pm

★★★★

 

Music theatre star Zoe McDonald made the greatest sacrifice in putting together her latest show, subjecting herself to hours of Sunrise and Today in the name of research. She can rest assured that it was worth it: Good Morning Mofo is a terrific one-woman character comedy that not only holds a magnifying glass up to morning television, but playfully singes it too.
 ...

Posted 6 Apr 2016 @ 2:24pm

★★★☆

 

Dynamic duo Jennifer Byrne and Vicky Falconer-Pritchard deliver an hour of ramshackle zaniness, beckoning their audience to follow Demon Dive Bar’s every metamorphosis. If there is one constant, it’s their predilection for the absurd, surreal humor punctuating each segment. It comes as no surprise that people have suggested The Mighty Boosh and Flight of the Conchords as...

Posted 6 Apr 2016 @ 11:22am

★★★☆

 

You know when a show opens with “Hi everybody!” and the whole crowd yells back, “Hi Dr Nick!” that you’re in for a good time. And Melbourne-born, London based Yianni Agisilaou’s show is a really good time, with 27 years of the world’s favourite four-fingered, yellow family celebrated in all their glory.
 
For his opening show at Melbourne International Comedy...

Posted 5 Apr 2016 @ 2:01pm

★★★★☆

 

“I love her,” declares a beaming fan of Luisa Omielan, midway through the UK comedian’s latest show Am I Right Ladies?!. “I love her.”
 
Omielan is the exact talent you might expect to have a fanatical legion of devotees. All throughout Am I Right Ladies?! she demonstrates she is much more than an explosively-sassy, silver-tongued stand-up comic: she’s a true...

Posted 5 Apr 2016 @ 1:57pm

★★☆

 

Hussain opens with a disclaimer that, in this show, he will be bracing topics that he is uncomfortable talking about. Yet, if you placed a cheeky wager on Hussain in the Membrane somehow exploring Reclaim Australia, muslims in Bendigo and even the slogan ‘Love it or Leave it’, you’d be doing well for yourself. Overall, Hussain covers the sorts of things you’d expect, with...

Posted 5 Apr 2016 @ 1:51pm

★★★★

 

When you see Ross Noble this comedy festival - and you should - make note of the giant air-bag-esque light bulbs that adorn his stage. It’s the perfect metaphor, the Northumberland-born comic a true ideas man.
 
Brain Dump is interesting from the outset, an extravagant broadway-inspired opener advising patrons to put their phones away. While it seems a tad over...

Posted 5 Apr 2016 @ 11:34am

★★★★

 

A bumper crowd rolled up to see Arj Barker on a Saturday night at St Kilda’s Palais Theatre. His ability to consistently draw the biggest crowds of the Comedy Festival is no mean feat. The show started bang on time which meant due to the venue’s thoroughly inefficient ticket scanning method, many people were still finding their seats during the start of the show.
 ...

Posted 3 Apr 2016 @ 6:57pm

★★★

 

“What the fuck is wrong with people?!” 
 
So asks Stephen K Amos over and over in The Laughter Master, during an hour that sees the British comic charm the Athenaeum audience with his infectious happiness.
 
While his refrain may be repetitive, and perhaps a bit predictable for a comedian, Amos makes it work given his subject is the banality of the...

Posted 3 Apr 2016 @ 4:50pm

★★★★★

 

The best way to sum up Damien Power's new show Sell Mum Into Slavery is that you’ll have a laugh and a think. Not only does Power provide an absolutely hilarious stand-up performance, he engages the audience with some thought-provoking ideas. At last year’s Melbourne International Comedy Festival, Power received rave reviews for I Can’t Believe I Cared, and as a result...

Posted 3 Apr 2016 @ 4:28pm

★★★★

 

 
Mark “Chopper” Read was one of the most popular criminals of recent times, gladdening his no frills, cheeky persona with universal tattoos and a set of handlebars rivalling the pair which get me to and from work every day. Read both intimidated and bedazzled; he disturbed but also educated - so you weren’t naïve to believe an impersonation effort was doomed to fail...

Posted 3 Apr 2016 @ 4:15pm

★★★★

 

Self-deprecation only works when the storytelling is this good. And throughout his 50-plus minutes onstage, Simon Taylor laid on the laughs thick and fast. The local lad walked us through his plan for the evening: some crowd work, magic (mixed with crowd work), some singing and some jokes. The good thing is, there were ‘jokes’ just about everywhere. During Human, Simon...

Posted 3 Apr 2016 @ 4:10pm

★★★★☆

 

“What’re you gonna do?” drawls Buttle into the microphone, a thick North Carolina accent elongating her vowels and drenching her consonants in molasses. “Use words as a weapon?”
 
Yes, that’s exactly what Mel Buttle is going to do in Up To The Pussy’s Bow. She’s going to slay you with acerbic social commentary and self-deprecating humour that all potential...

Posted 3 Apr 2016 @ 3:59pm

★★★★☆ 

 

Being a regular on breakfast radio is pretty much the pinnacle for a comedian in this country. Dave Thornton achieved that two years ago when he was announced alongside Fifi Box as one half of breakfast radio show Fifi and Dave on Fox here in Melbourne. Due to the time commitments and getting up at 4.30am everyday, some comedians shows suffer noticeably and others...

Posted 3 Apr 2016 @ 3:36pm

★★★★

 

The Magic Inside from Peter and Bambi Heaven is just too funny. The brainchild of Asher Treleaven and Gypsy Wood, the show arrives as a hilarious parody of amateur stage magic. Fusing in elements of variety song and dance acts, performance art and more, this show simply nails it.
 
Master illusionist Peter and former cage dancer Bambi Heaven are loved up, and...

Posted 1 Apr 2016 @ 10:00am

★★★★☆

 

Anne Edmonds fits the bill for what’s known as a pocket rocket – small in stature, but big in character and matched with a riotous on-stage presence, with which she had the audience in stitches from the get go.
 
For the 2016 Melbourne International Comedy Festival, Edmonds is treating crowds to her brand new show, That’s Eddotainment. The Melbourne-based...

Posted 31 Mar 2016 @ 5:38pm

★★★★

 

You could be forgiven for thinking that the idea of sophisticated humor is an oxymoron in this day and age of stand-up comedy.
 
Amongst all the dick jokes, swearing, toilet humor and controversial gibes said for shock value and cheap laughs, it’s reasonable to wonder if today’s comics have lost the ability to find the funny in inoffensive topics.
 ...

Pages