Comedy Festival Summary – the Festival so far.

Here’s a little snippet of what I reckon you should check out and why.



Dave Hughes in Pointless, Wil Anderson in Wiluminati and Tom Gleeson in Quality

These are three consummate stand-ups. They know how to work a crowd, each in their own way. The material is strong and you are guaranteed laughs. What’s more, you are guaranteed that you will be in a room filled with laughing people, and that is an awesome way to spend an hour.


Joe Bone – The Bane Trilogy

Joe Bone brings a whole series of characters to life in creating the story of Bruce Bane with excellent musical accompaniment from Ben Roe. For me, three separate shows over three nights is a bit much of a commitment, but I’d highly recommend making the effort to get to at least one.


Sam Simmons – Death of a Sails Man

Insane. Totally insane. If you love insane comedy, see this.


Emily Taylor – PET

Sweet, funny, mad characters, good fun. My Theatrepress review is here.


Frank Woodley – Fool’s Gold

Lots of physical comedy, a few songs and some general craziness. Ace times.


Backwards Anorak – Winter is Coming

Ignore the terrible poster – if you have seen Game of Thrones, watch this. It’s ace. My Theatrepress review is here.


Rama Nicholas – After Ever After

Ever wonder what happens at the end of a fairy tale? Possibly not. But Rama takes you on a fabulous journey with a whole bunch of characters to tell a very cool and, at times, extremely wrong story. I totally loved this.


Mel Buttle – Bring a Plate

Mel’s dry delivery and muttered comments totally crack me up. As do her impersonations of family members and other stories. I think she’s totally way fun. See her. Go on.

The Shadow King – Theatre Review


Malthouse Theatre, 11-27 October

From an idea conceived in Katherine between director Michael Kantor and director/actor Tom E Lewis, The Shadow King is a retelling of Shakespeare’s King Lear set in rural Australia. Lewis plays Lear, the king of his family, who divides his land between the two daughters who claim to love him most and casts out the daughter who cannot express her love solely for material gain. Meanwhile, the bastard son from another family in the area returns with revenge on his mind. Kantor and Lewis have taken the story and given it new life and new language, with the actors skipping between English and various traditional languages. Like watching a more traditional performance of Shakespeare, I couldn’t understand every word or even every phrase, but it didn’t matter.  The story was clear.

The Shadow King was marvelous. Tragic, and awful but beautiful and poetic. The staging was ambitious, with a huge, moving structure that took on different meaning and places depending on the way it was twisted and turned. A large screen hung from the ceiling onto which were displayed film footage representing the different locations. The entire floor of the very large space was covered in red sand, and a band (Lear’s merry band)sat to one side and played throughout the performance.

Circus Oz


Circus Oz is the perfect show for the young and those with low attention spans. There are heaps of different acts, they move through the acts quickly. There are some great running jokes and the clowning is adorable. After 35 years of success, this is exactly what audiences expect. A solid and entertaining show.

Not only does Circus Oz put on excellent shows yearly in Melbourne and take them across the country (and indeed, the world). They also have various programs set up working with indigenous communities and rural communities, including running a workshop program for those affected by the Black Saturday fires. Check out their website for more info on how you can contribute to their awesome work.

Circus Oz is playing in Melbourne until July 14. For tickets, visit:

No Child – Theatre Review


Nilaja Sun has created a beautiful, funny, tragic, inspiring and devastating one-woman performance with No Child. The story is of a young and hopeful drama teacher-artiste who goes to a rough school in Brooklyn to put on a performance with a tough group of students. She plays multiple characters, from the elderly janitor to each of the students in the class. It is based on her own experiences and everything in the performance rings so true.

At first, I felt that the characters were such caricatures that the performance would be funny, but couldn’t possibly carry much weight. I was so wrong. Once the audience knew the characters, Nilaja jumped from one to another so quickly that it felt there had to be more than one person on the stage.

Anyone who knows me knows that I love to cry at film and theatre. I defy anyone to come away from this performance with dry eyes. Even thinking about it now is making me emotional. No Child is an amazing piece of theatre that shows exactly what one person can do on stage. Go and see it.

No Child is playing at Theatreworks in St Kilda until May 26. Really, go and see it.

Ovo – Cirque du Soleil – Theatre Review


The circus has come such a long way since the days of Water for Elephants. Okay, so that was a fictional book (and film) set in the great depression, but it’s the most recent thinking I have had about circuses. I don’t even know that there are still many circuses going around that use animals – at least, not in Australia. I’m bound to be wrong there, but I’m one of those tree-hugging hippies that would rather see animals in good quality zoos with appropriately sized and created enclosures than having them doing tricks for my amusement. But watching humans doing tricks for my amusement? Sure, go ahead.

Ovo is the current manifestation of Cirque du Soleil to play in Melbourne, and it is beautiful. The theme is the world of insects and spiders which has inspired a totally amazing set and beautiful costumes. It was a little disappointing for me that much of the action is directed at the middle section – sitting on the side, there were even a few things that I couldn’t see at all. However, there were always a few insects running around and doing other things, so I had something to watch.

My favourite? I don’t want to give too much away, but I think without a doubt, the grasshoppers were my favourite. Most of the show looked impressive and incredibly hard, but this section looked impressive, incredibly hard AND a ridiculous amount of fun.

About The Weather – Sam Simmons

It’s fast paced, it’s surreal, it’s musical and it’s amazing. Sam Simmons has a knack for grabbing the audience and taking them on a sprint – forget about the relaxed journey with its slow reveals and gentle nature, this is more like being punched lots, but funny punches that don’t hurt. Sort of. Unless you’re the guy on the spinning chair. I reckon that probably hurt a bit.

Click the image above for ticket and show info

Joy and Despair – Michael Chamberlin

I love it when Michael Chamberlin gets angry, like comedy angry. He seems like such a placid guy who’s just chilled and relaxed, but man he gets really pissed off and then he shouts and goes read and a little vein pops up in his neck. It’s pretty funny. This is a really well crafted show which takes the audience on a journey which is kind of about his growing up, or not. As a fellow thirty-something who is about to move back into a share house after many years of living on my own, some of this seemed a bit too familiar.
Click the image above for show and ticket info

The Telescope – Claudia O’Doherty

I find Claudia O’Doherty’s charm completely distracts me from realising what an insane journey she is taking me on until it is too late and suddenly I’m watching a love-story across time through a magical telescope with some of my favourite ever video clips and strangeness. There’s no doubt that this is not everyone’s cup of tea but I think she’s fabulous and can just keep on with what’s she’s doing, thanks very much.

Click the image above for show and ticket info

Doing Stuff – Tom Ballard

Give Tom Ballard a microphone and some attention and he will make you laugh. Lots. He’s a really, really funny guy, and that’s even when he’s complaining of a hangover after a big night without picking up. Ballard’s got stuff to say and some of it is a bit political and some is a bit shouty, but funny shouty, not scary shouty.
Then halfway through, the woman sitting in front of me suddenly gets the joke with a really weird and distracting laugh. It’s really, really annoying, to the point that Ballard gets off the stage to seek her. Just when we think it may not get much more uncomfortable, a woman a few rows behind me admits to it. I don’t think Ballard is convinced either, but after a brief chat, he returns to the stage to finish the show with one of the grossest stories I’ve ever heard and cannot unhear. Thanks, Tom.

Click the image above for show and ticket info

WATSON – Shakespeare Fight Club

At the offset, this seemed to start a little too high-brow for what I expect from Watson. Not that I am suggesting they are not high-brow – but when two actors who I was not familiar with started verbal jousting in Shakespearean prose, I began to worry a little. Thank god that Adam and Tegan burst in, with their hilarious banter and naughty sword fighting.

I laughed so much. I laughed at the slapstick, the potentially real injuries on stage, the clever scriptwriting and the fabulous improvisation. And then, something unexpected. I got a bit emotional. Not to give too much away, there is a moment of stillness that Tegan punctuates with a slight wobble in her voice and those big, pleading eyes and I must admit, I felt a little sad. Oh, you crazy kids.

This show’s one of the late shows, so there’s no excuse to miss it. By all means, go see a couple of other shows in the lead up to it, but finish your night with Watson. You’ll love it. Plus, they’ve just been nominated for a Golden Gibbo, so get in quick!

Click the image above for show and ticket info