Ali McGregor’s Western Lullabies

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Ali McGregor’s Western Lullabies


Ali McGregor and her cast of talented friends use the term ‘lullaby’ loosely. They’ve chosen a bunch of vaguely soothing songs and thrown in enough banter to remind the audience they’re at the comedy festival. Proceeds from the evening went to Western Chances, a charity that provides scholarships for young people living in Melbourne’s west.

At times the evening felt like one big jam session, as performers returned in different combinations. McGregor would introduce someone to do a song, then return and sing with them, then her guest would leave the stage but return later with someone else.

As a host, McGregor is generous in her introductions and has a real warmth and admiration for the artists. She seemed particularly rapt to introduce rock musician Dave Graney, whose banter managed plenty of laughs from the audience despite him being the only non-comedian on the bill.

Plenty of well-known comedians appeared too, including Greg Fleet, Scott Edgar (Tripod), Mike McAleesh and Casey Bennetto (Keating! The Musical), and DeAnne Smith. Most were also highly trained musicians, while one or two bravely stepped out of their comfort zones for a night.

McGregor is a highly trained opera singer and her powerful rendition of Radiohead’s Creep had the otherwise sedate audience cheering. Bennetto’s ‘human jukebox’ stunt was another highlight. The audience was asked to shout out names of lullabies and he played the first suggestion, ‘Lullaby of Birdland’, on guitar while McGregor sang along.

As it was a comedy festival show, I had expected slightly more jokes or more musical comedy. But one strength of the festival is that it spans such a diverse range of styles. The evening worked a treat exactly as it was.