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Debra Batton & Cathering Magill : She Knows Too Much
Debra Batton and Catherine Magill return as Such N Such for She Knows Too Much, their Comedy Festival debut about life and its frustrations. However, just like life, it’s pretty disappointing too.
Despite having frequented The Butterfly Club with their endearing tirades, the ladies are disenchanting. Either their catastrophic brand of humour elicits laughs or none whatsoever. This problem stirs from basing their performance on pure relation.
“Do you know how hard it is to love a teenager who’s not your own?” exclaimed Batton, detailing the hardships of babysitting Magill’s teenager. Though this rhetoric question is comedic, their satirized frustrations are hard for a 21-year-old with no children, who currently lives at home with their parents, to empathise with. This would explain why my mother, who accompanied me, found the show more amusing than I.
Magill and Batton have to be commended for creating an average debut, accompanied with the fact that many of their jokes were impromptu. Regardless, She Knows Too Much was insipid and directionless; a show more suited to a older woman with life experience.
BY AVRILLE BYLOK-COLLARD
MICF Daily – Wednesday March 20
Today’s show is the MICF Daily Festival Preview – a guide to what’s trending, who’s flying over, and what’s popular at this year’s Comedy Festival. Mike is joined by festival experts Lisa Clark and Nick Mason to give their picks on what you should spend your hard earned money on.
Andy Matthews & Tony Besselink – Achieve Nothing
Harley Breen – Some Kind of Something
Simon Munnery – Fylm-Makker
Lessons with Luis – Famoucity!
Lisa-Skye – Songs My Parents Taught Me
Watson – Once Were Planets
This is Siberian Husky – The Misery Factory
Mike Birbiglia – My Girlfriend’s Boyfriend
Randy is Sober
Timothy Clark & Liam Ryan – Balderdash!
Daniel Connell – Mr Personality 1988
John Conway – The New Conway Tonight Show
This week in MICF Daily News:
– Tonight the festival launches with the annual Gala, held at a sold out Palais Theatre in St Kilda. The Gala will feature a variety of festival acts – local and abroad, raising money for charity organisation Oxfam. If you didn’t get tickets for the event, it will air on Channel Ten this Saturday night at 8:30pm.
– The Tuxedo Cat have announced a new location for the 2013 Melbourne International Comedy Festival. The pop-up venue, known for taking over office buildings and making the comedies show up, will host at least 26 unique shows during the festival, with extras to be added once the festival gets underway. The new Tuxedo Cat is located at 17 – 23 Willis street in the city, located near Flagstaff Station.
– One of those extra shows is Squidboy, which will appear at the Tuxedo Cat for four shows only. The winner of 2013 Auckland Fringe’s Best Performance Award, Squidboy is described as “an hour of pure whimsy and imagination”. The show takes place on the Thursday April 11 through Sunday April 14 at 8:30pm. Tickets are on sale now for the four shows at TryBooking.com.
– Plenty of people have been wondering where Daniel Kitson will be this Comedy Festival, and now MICF Daily has the official word. The popular Englishman will be at the Tuxedo Cat throughout the festival, kicking off next Wednesday. Kitson will hold late shows at 11pm on Wednesday March 27 and Thursday March 28, and then follow up with shows every Sunday night through Wednesday at 11pm from Sunday March 31. In addition, Kitson will be doing shows every Saturday morning of the festival at the Cat at the not-so-comedy time of 11am – that’s in the morning. Tickets for all shows are on sale now at SeeBooking.
– And if 11pm is too early or late for you, Fitzroy comedy room LOL Comedy has confirmed that a a regular UK act with the initials DK will be MCing shows in April. The show takes place every Monday night at 8:30pm at Fitzroy’s Provincial Hotel.
– 14-year-old Lachie Clark has taken out the glory at the Class Clowns Melbourne final. Class Clowns is the festival’s contest to find the funniest school kids in the country. Clark will be joined at the Class Clowns Grand Final by Adelaide’s Emma Hogan, Darwin’s Sam Perry, Hobart’s James Warren, Perth’s Brandon Boccola, Canberra’s Rory Gillen, and Sydney’s Aaron Chen. The Grand Final will take place on Friday April 19 at the Town Hall.
– The first ever Bright Club Melbourne has be announced for Tuesday April 2. Bright Club will see comedians, musicians, and brain researchers join forces to put on a “thinking person’s variety show”. The show will be hosted by Ben McKenzie with music from Catherine Deveny, and will feature talks from Shawna Farquharson, Jee Hyun Kim, Elizabeth Manning, Monique Ryan, Chris Tailby, and David Hawkes. Taking place at the Melbourne Brain Centre in Parkville, tickets are available for the show right now at Ticketmaster.
– The Imperial Hotel will hosts thirteen shows this comedy festival, and the venue is giving away double passes to all of them during MICF. To win, take a photo of your festival programme and post it to the Comedy at The Imperial Facebook page for your chance to win.
Want MICF Daily pushed to your MP3 player or phone as soon as it comes out? Subscribe to MICF Daily on iTunes, or with your favourite podcatcher. Need even more MICF Daily? Check out the MICF Daily archives for more interviews and news.
Russell Brand @ Rod Laver Arena
With the release of his infamous and candid autobiography along with appearances in films such as Get Him To The Greek and Arthur – not to mention marrying and divorcing pop singer/critic of juxtaposition Katy Perry – Brand has established himself as a genuine pop culture icon and arena-selling comedian. His stand-up, heavily influenced by the likes of Noel Fielding and Paul Foot, is largely rooted in one of the primary separators of professional comedians from amateurs – identity. Out of every comedian I’ve seen, Brand has the most established identity, and his real life identity – the hyper-sexuality, the (past?) drug addiction, celebrity status etc. – directly reflects onto his stage performance.
Thus, you already know what to expect from Brand’s stand-up before you walk in. There’s a lotta humping the air (not enough! am I right ladies!), anecdotes from his celebrity life (finding out moments before his performance at the Olympics that his pants were ripped at the crotch) and commentary about random shit like the news and writer/ex-footballer David Icke who believes the Queen is actually a giant lizard (no shit Icke).
One of the more surprising elements of Brand’s schtick is his skill of the English language, drawing much humour with his creative vocabulary (such as describing going down on a girl as entering “Narnia”). Brand is proficient at utilising clever literary metaphors, and his silver-tongue adds that extra quirk to the material.
Probably the highlight of the night came in the form of a drunken audience member. After asking for the house lights to be turned on, soon after the start of the show, Brand sauntered down the aisles on the ground level, provoking audience participation. Minutes in, a smiling buzzed-out dude in the crowd (drinking wine out of a label-less Coke bottle) got into some cheeky banter with Brand. As their exchange grew more heated, Brand’s security stepped in and pushed the man into a sin-bin area near the soundboard. Therafter, the heckler approached Brand again – and out of completely fucking nowhere – dropped his pants and underwear to the shock and applause of a sold-out Rod Laver Arena. Security quickly escorted him out, and Brand was subsequently provided with a few extra minutes of material.
The Unspoken Word is “Joe” At La Mama
Presented by La Mama Theatre and the City of Darebin, The Unspoken Word is “Joe” is a play that was written essentially as an outlet of dealing with a very bad break-up and like all women, the emotionality of the play will be phenomenal, engaging and oh so witty, but you’ll only be laughing because you know how it feels to be dumped.
Declan Greene joins the team as the director while La Mama will be hosting the performances this October.
A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Forum
Based on the book by Burt Shevelove and Larry Gelbart, this Tony Award Winning Musical illustrates the trials of Pseudolus, played by Geoffrey Rush, and his attempt to gain freedom from his master Senex (Shane Bourne) and domineering wife Domina (Magha Szubanski). How does Pseudolus do this? Through manipulating the discovery that Senex’s son, Hero, portrayed by Hugh Sheridan, has fallen for a virgin courtesan of course.
Award-winning Simon Phillips (Priscilla, Queen of the Desert, Love Never Dies) directs this star-studded cast to produce a musical that will have you clutching your sides in glee.
The title of his comedy show, Chris Dewberry – Sex, Money, Power, Chicken Nuggets leaves him ripe to queries about what he has learned about the mighty processed snackfood. Dewberry’s list of chicken nugget pros includes: “They can convert weak vegetarians” and “They are 50 per cent more fun than other finger foods”. Dewberry does concede the animal rights angle, admitting, “Some people won’t eat chicken nuggets because they disagree with how chickens are treated, but you have to admire the way they’re recycled.” Indeed.
Chicken jokes aside, why has Dewberry entered RAW Comedy for the second time in two years? “For me there was never any reason not to give RAW a go,” Dewberry says. “It’s a chance to have a great crowd at a convenient timeslot with a massive incentive. I also like that it encourages you to get a good set together that doesn’t rely on dirty pub jokes.” He even appreciates the admittedly gruelling work hours. “I really like the idea of working between five and 30 minutes a day.”
Dewberry also waxes poetical about his style of comedy, throwing in a healthy dose of sexual titillation for good measure. “I guess I would I say I aim for cheeky social commentary. I like to think there’s some depth to my material but I’m a slut for laughs, so sometimes my routines are a little more playful and aren’t as direct as I’d like them to be.”
Being editor of Comedy Beast, in contrast, comes with its own set of challenges. Dewberry approaches it from the three-pronged angle.
“The biggest thing I’ve learned from watching comedy is to keep your ego in check, because it’s applicable at all levels. I’ve seen nervous comics die on stage because they don’t acknowledge when a joke goes over badly and it makes the audience tense. For the next level of comedian that has the audience’s attention, they’ve got to watch for rants, because when you start getting better, it’s easy to think the audience will just laugh at whatever you say. Then at the higher-levels, the [comedians] who tend to make a name for themselves in Australia are often self-deprecating (even though they’re actually awesome and should be able to be as cocky as they like) because that’s what an Australian audience likes.”
If you see a round of RAW Comedy this year – where chicken nuggets are a show in themselves and laugh-sluts compete for the adoration of the crowd – you may just get to see a big-name comedian before they’ve even been discovered. What’s not to love?
BY SIOBHAN ARGENT
Dirty Works Comedy
She may have been born and raised in New Zealand but, to us, Cal Wilson is our own. She’ll bring her renowned wit to the Comedy Festival stage, along with other local talent Kevin Kropinyeri, quirky European duo, Die Roten Punkte, and numerous stand-up stars from Malaysia.
Harley Breen Wins The Piece Of Wood
Weird traditions… but they continue. Previous winners of The Piece Of Wood award at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival include Fiona O’Loughlin, Stewart Lee, Sam Simmons, Tom Gleeson and Charlie Pickering.
Harley Breen’s I Heart Bunnings was a story of Harley’s two brothers and their weird antics. Both carpenters, Harley was the odd one out and constructed an interesting and high-quality comedy show out of his experiences growing up with them.
Comedy At Spleen awarded Breen Comic Of The Year in January and Breen will soon release a DVD.
The Big Hoo Haa
Russell McGilton : Accidents Are Prohibited On This Road
Ah the Melbourne Fringe Festival. But what is it about an act that makes it truly worthy of this unique festival of the arts? Is it eclectic and unusual performance? Is it quirky and offbeat comedy? Or is it the well-timed use of sound, image and movement to create a show that is, well, just a little left of centre?
If this is true, then Russell McGilton has the makings of a true Fringe Dweller. McGilton is an Australian comedian/writer/public speaker who has previously performed at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival, The Edinburgh Festival, and previous Melbourne Fringe Festivals. He brings his most recent live show Accidents are Prohibited on this Road to Cabaret Voltaire this Fringe Festival season, and it’s pretty bloody funny.
Russell spins a web mired with tales of travel in his youth. His stories span from taking naughty drugs in Amsterdam, to attending meditation camps where he was forbidden to speak or, err, engage in any sexual misconduct. He recounts his travels to Kenya, where he has unfortunate run-ins with all kinds of large wildlife, including rhinoceroses and his hotel cleaning lady.
His stories and facial expressions are comical, and the show is well-scripted and constructed. McGilton has photos of his trip and lessons that he learnt flashing up on a screen to the side of stage – his dramatic lighting effects and splashes of music enhance the routine, and his accents are pretty funny, if not always consistent.
What McGilton lacked in this performance was the sense of atmospheric ambience required to pull off a seamless routine. This was partly due to the size of the crowd and the extreme intimacy of the venue; at times it felt a little like you were sitting in someone’s living room listing to a mate recount their travels overseas. However, the act still works, and is still very very funny. His performance can only be bolstered and enhanced by a larger crowd, so do yourself and him a favour and go and see it.
Give him the audience he deserves. And laugh your pants off.