Aussie invasion of 2018 Edinburgh Fringe

It’s not long now until the world’s largest fringe arts festival begins in warmer climes and again a massive contingent of Australians and expats are headed to The Edinburgh Festival Fringe. Many have traveled the Australian festival circuit and have been whipped into shape for international audiences. Some have been previously reviewed by Squirrel but remember they will have been further polished and may have been revised and reworked.

Hannah Gadsby

Last year Australian, Hannah Gadsby won Best Comedy at the Fringe, she’s had to cancel her Edinburgh Fringe run this year but there’s a lot more amazing comedy talent coming up from down under. If you are travelling anywhere near Edinburgh this August, have a look at the following list of shows and consider going to see an Australian act.

AC/DC: Australian Comedians / Dope Comedy
(MC Daniel Muggleton & various Aussie guests)
Laughing Horse @ The Counting House
https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/ac-dc-australian-comedians-dope-comedy

Adam Vincent – Stuck in the Suburbs With You 

Adam Vincent

Laughing Horse @ Espionage
ttps://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/adam-vincent-stuck-in-the-suburbs-with-you

Aidan ‘Taco’ Jones – 52 Days
Laughing Horse @ City Café
https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/52-days

Alex Williamson – So Wrong, It’s Wrong
Underbelly, Bristo Square
https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/alex-williamson-so-wrong-it-s-wrong

Alice Fraser – Ethos

Alice Fraser

Underbelly, Bristo Square
https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/alice-fraser-ethos

Andrew Roper – What Is Best in Life?
Laughing Horse @ The Free Sisters
https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/andrew-roper-what-is-best-in-life

Ange Lavoipierre and Jane Watt – Luxury Split Bill
Just the Tonic at The Caves
https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/luxury-split-bill

Anthony Jeannot – Life Coach (Age 14)
Laughing Horse @ The Free Sisters
https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/life-coach-age-14

Ben McCarthy – Nevermind
Paradise in The Vault
https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/ben-mccarthy-nevermind

Blaise White Changes the World
Three Broomsticks
https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/blaise-white-changes-the-world

Brendon Burns and Colt Cabana Do Comedy and Commentary to Bad Wrestling Matches
Monkey Barrel Comedy Club
https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/brendon-burns-and-colt-cabana-do-comedy-and-commentary-to-bad-wrestling-matches

Brendon Burns – Mansplainin’

Brendon Burns

Heroes @ Boteco
https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/brendon-burns-mansplainin

Brett Blake – Reckless
Laughing Horse @ The Counting House
https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/brett-blake-reckless

Calling My Tribe – Boo Dwyer
Assembly George Square Theatre
https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/calling-my-tribe

Changing Jennifers – Improvised Improv
Outhouse
https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/improvised-improv

Claire Sullivan – I Wish I Owned a Hotel for Dogs 

Claire Sullivan

Gilded Balloon Teviot
https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/claire-sullivan-i-wish-i-owned-a-hotel-for-dogs

Squirrel Review:

Claire Sullivan – I Wish I Owned A Hotel For Dogs

Clara Cupcakes

Clara Cupcakes – The Worst
Underbelly, Bristo Square
https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/clara-cupcakes-the-worst

Squirrel Review:

Clara Cupcakes – The Worst

Comedians Against Humanity (MC Yianni Agisilaou)

Yianni

Pleasance Dome
https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/comedians-against-humanity

Squirrel Review:

Comedians Against Humanity: Hosted by Yianni Agisilaou

Comedy Boxing: New Challengers
Laughing Horse @ Espionage
https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/comedy-boxing-new-challengers

Damian Clark – Extra Show
Gilded Balloon Teviot
https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/damian-clark-extra-show

Daniel Connell – Mr Personality 1988

Daniel Connell

Gilded Balloon Teviot
https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/daniel-connell-mr-personality-1988

Squirrel Review:

Daniel Connell – MR PERSONALITY 1988

 

Daniel Muggleton – Mouth Breather
Laughing Horse @ The Counting House
https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/daniel-muggleton-mouth-breather

Demi Lardner – I Love Skeleton

Demi Lardner

Assembly George Square Studios
https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/demi-lardner-i-love-skeleton

Dilruk Jayasinha – The Art of the Dil
Assembly George Square Theatre
https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/dilruk-jayasinha-the-art-of-the-dil

Felicity Ward – Busting a Nut
Pleasance Courtyard
https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/felicity-ward-busting-a-nut

Frank Hadchiti – The Lesbian Whisperer
Laughing Horse @ The Free Sisters
https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/lesbian-whisperer

Fringe Wives Club – Glittery Clittery 
Assembly Roxy
https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/fringe-wives-club-glittery-clittery

Garry Starr Performs Everything
Underbelly, Cowgate
https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/garry-starr-performs-everything

George Dimarelos – A Book Lovers Comedy Show
Laughing Horse @ City Café
https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/book-lovers-comedy-show

George Dimarelos – George Michael Is Greek
Laughing Horse @ City Café
https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/george-michael-is-greek

Gillian English – She Wolf 

Gillian English

Voodoo Rooms
https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/she-wolf

Good Evening Edinburgh, It’s Sam Kissajukian
Laughing Horse @ Espionage
https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/good-evening-edinburgh-it-s-sam-kissajukian

Grant Busé – The Birds and the Beats
Gilded Balloon Teviot
https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/grant-buse-the-birds-and-the-beats

Huge News with Kyron and Menschy
Gilded Balloon Rose Theatre
https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/huge-news

Is This the Worst Quiz / Game Show Ever? (Edinburgh Regional Championships) Hosted by Yianni Agisilaou
Sneaky Pete’s
https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/is-this-the-worst-quiz-game-show-ever-edinburgh-regional-championships-hosted-by-yianni-agisilaou

Ivan Aristeguieta – Juithy 

Ivan Aristeguieta

Pleasance Courtyard
https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/ivan-aristeguieta-juithy

James McLean – Good Manners Gone Bad
Gilded Balloon Rose Theatre
https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/good-manners-gone-bad

Jez Watts – #1 Comedy Great Fun Best Show
Laughing Horse @ The Free Sisters
https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/1-comedy-great-fun-best-show-jez-watts

Jimeoin – Result!
Pleasance at EICC
https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/jimeoin-result

Jimeoin – Roast Chicken Result!
Pleasance at EICC
https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/jimeoin-roast-chicken-result

John Robertson – Sweaty, Sexy Party Party
Just the Tonic at The Tron
https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/john-robertson-sweaty-sexy-party-party

John Robertson – The Dark Room
Underbelly, Cowgate
https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/john-robertson-the-dark-room

Jon & Nath Like to Party
Laughing Horse @ The Free Sisters
https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/jon-nath-like-to-party

Josh Glanc – Karma Karma Karma Karma Karma Chamedian 

Josh Glanc

Underbelly, Bristo Square
https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/josh-glanc-karma-karma-karma-karma-karma-chamedian

Squirrel Review:

Josh Glanc: Karma Karma Karma Karma Karma Chamedian

 

Kyle Legacy – The Fresh Prince of Comedy
Laughing Horse @ Espionage
https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/fresh-prince-of-comedy-kyle-legacy

Larissa Moran – Love Like 90s R’n’B
Fireside
https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/love-like-90s-r-n-b

Laura Davis – Ghost Machine

Laura Davis

Underbelly, Cowgate
https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/laura-davis-ghost-machine

Squirrel Review: 

Laura Davis – Ghost Machine

 

Mick Neven and Jacques Barrett – Australian Beauty
Opium
https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/australian-beauty

Mick Neven – Charm Offensive
Sneaky Pete’s
https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/charm-offensive

Nathan Lang – The Stuntman
Just the Tonic at The Caves
https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/nathan-lang-the-stuntman

Neal Portenza’s Final Edinburgh Show Will Be a Bad Magic Show on a Bus.

Neal Portenza

BBC, ITV, Channel 4, Netflix and Amazon Prime Are All Welcome
Heroes @ Bob’s BlundaBus
https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/neal-portenza-s-final-edinburgh-show-will-be-a-bad-magic-show-on-a-bus-bbc-itv-channel-4-netflix-and-amazon-prime-are-all-welcome

Nick Elleray – It’s Been Emotional
Just the Tonic at The Grassmarket Centre
https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/nick-elleray-it-s-been-emotional

Oliver Coleman – Delicious
The Coffee House
https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/oliver-coleman-delicious

Plumbing the Death Star Live
Just the Tonic at The Caves
https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/plumbing-the-death-star-live

Rhys Nicholson

Rhys Nicholson – Seminal

Underbelly, Bristo Square
https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/rhys-nicholson-seminal

Ruven Govender – Ethnic Cleansing
Laughing Horse @ The Counting House
https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/ethnic-cleansing-ruven-govender

Sam Campbell – The Trough

Sam Campbell

Monkey Barrel Comedy Club
https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/sam-campbell-the-trough

Sam Kissajukian – Alcohol Is Good for You
Laughing Horse @ Espionage
https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/alcohol-is-good-for-you-sam-kissajukian

Sharnema Nougar & David Tieck – Two Little Dickheads
Just the Tonic at The Mash House
https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/two-little-dickheads

Sofie Prints – Jesus Was a Rape Baby
Three Broomsticks
https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/jesus-was-a-rape-baby

Steen Raskopoulos and Carlo Ritchie – The Bear Pack

Bear Pack

Underbelly, Cowgate
https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/bear-pack

Squirrel Review:

The Bear Pack – Carlo Ritchie and Steen Raskopoulos

Steen Raskopoulos – Stay
Underbelly, Cowgate
https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/steen-raskopoulos-stay

The Stevenson Experience – Spot the Difference
Assembly George Square Studios
https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/stevenson-experience-spot-the-difference

Stuart Bowden – Our Molecules
Underbelly, Bristo Square
https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/stuart-bowden-our-molecules

Tenuous Link – Unexpected Inheritance
PQA Venues @Riddle’s Court
https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/unexpected-inheritance

Tessa Waters – Fully Sik 

Tessa Waters

Heroes @ The SpiegelYurt
https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/tessa-waters-fully-sik

Thao Thanh Cao – Appropriately Inappropriate
Laughing Horse @ Harry’s Southside
https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/appropriately-inappropriate

The Ashes: A Comedy Showdown
Liquid Room Annexe/Warehouse
https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/ashes-a-comedy-showdown

The Nasty Show
Laughing Horse @ The Free Sisters
https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/nasty-show

Thomas Green – Doubting Thomas
Gilded Balloon Teviot
https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/thomas-green-doubting-thomas

Time Out With Ross Voss
Laughing Horse @ Moriarty’s
https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/time-out-with-ross-voss

The Travellin’ Man Comedy Showcase (MC Aidan ‘Taco’ Jones)
Laughing Horse @ Harry’s Southside
https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/travellin-man-comedy-showcase

The Travelling Sisters – Toupé 

The Travelling Sisters

Gilded Balloon Teviot
https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/travelling-sisters-toupe

Squirrel Review:

The Travelling Sisters – Toupé

Tom Walker – Honk Honk Honk Honk Honk 

Tom Walker

Underbelly, Bristo Square
https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/tom-walker-honk-honk-honk-honk-honk

Squirrel Review:

Tom Walker: Honk Honk Honk Honk Honk

Tri-Nations Comedy
Laughing Horse @ The Counting House
https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/tri-nations-comedy

Wil Greenway – Either Side of Everything
Underbelly, Bristo Square
https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/wil-greenway-either-side-of-everything

Yianni Agisilaou – I, Human
Pleasance Dome
https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/yianni-agisilaou-i-human

Melbourne International Comedy Festival Awards

This year instead of being presented in the middle of the night at the Festival Club as is traditional, The Melbourne International Comedy Festival Awards were instead presented at 1pm in the afternoon at Belleville. It was more relaxed and civilised with drinks and nibblies (and better lighting for photos) and it was great knowing that everyone in the room was involved and invested in the results, but sort of sad that it was restricted to invite only. I was very lucky to be invited, but other fans on the rim of the festival, but just as invested would have been sad (as I was when this happened once in the past) to not be a part of that middle of the night wild excitement and joy when a favourite, or someone you’ve discovered wins an award.

I can’t deny that there was some surprise as well as delight for Sam Campbell’s win. Although he has been performing in Sydney for a while and getting some TV work (you may have seen him on The Checkout), he’s still pretty much under the radar of the general public. We fell in love with his work when we saw Zanzoop! early in it’s run in 2016 and spent the rest of the Festival telling anyone who would listen that they should go and see the strange talk show hosted by a wise cracking alien in a back alley nightclub. This year we loved both shows he was involved with; his own, The Trough and Anne Edmond’s Helen Bidou – Enter the Spinnaker Lounge where he played Helen’s long suffering, very awkward son Connor.

2018 AWARD WINNERS

Hannah Gadsby Presenting The Barry Award from New York

Barry Award, for the best show: Sam Campbell The Trough  

Nominees for The Barry Award:
Alex Edelman (USA)- Just for Us 
Anne Edmonds – as Helen Bidou – Enter the Spinaker Lounge
Tim Key (UK) – Megadate
Lano & Woodley (Colin Lane and Frank Woodley) – Fly!
Rose Matafeo (NZ) – Horndog!
Celia Pacquola – All Talk
Natalie Palamides (USA) – Laid

 

The Best Newcomer: Danielle Walker Bush Rat 

Danielle Walker

This award was presented by Sarah Dodds of Soho Theatre who will be bringing Danielle to London to make her Debut at The Soho Theatre.

Nominees for The Best Newcomer Award:
Paul Williams(NZ) – Summertime Love
Stephanie Tisdell – Identity Steft
Garry Starr – Performs Everything
Lewis Garnham – The Smartest Idiot You’ll Ever Meet
Nadia Collins – Virgin Bloody Mary

 

The Golden Gibbo Award (for an artistic independent production): 

Cam Venn


Cam Venn for 
Charles Horse Lays An Egg
The prize is a Bottle of Red Wine and was presented by Lynda Gibson’s Niece Emma Maye Gibson, also known as Betty Grumble

Nominees for The Golden Gibbo Award:
Sophie Joske and Anna Piper Scott  – Almost Lesbians
Garry Starr  – Performs Everything 
Julia Rorke & Elysia Hall – Not Another F***** B**** In India
Michelle Brasier & Laura Frew
(Double Denim) – Double Denim Adventure Show]

Lano & Woodley

People’s Choice Award:
Lano & Woodley – Fly!

This award signifies that Fly! sold the most tickets at this year’s Festival.

 

The Directors’ Choice Award:
Michelle Brasier and Laura Frew for Double Denim Adventure Show

 

 

The Pinder Prize: Demi Lardner – I Love Skeleton 
This Award funds her trip to the Edinburgh Fringe
to perform at Assembly Festival.

 

 

Heath Franklin

Piece of Wood Award (Peer Award from other comedians):
Heath Franklin – Bogan Jesus 

 

Funny Tonne Winner: Alasdair Bryant (76 Shows)

Deadly Funny National Grand Final winner: Leon Filewood (QLD)

RAW Comedy Grand Final Winner: Bec Melrose (NSW)  
Bec has won a trip to The Edinburgh Fringe Festival to compete in So You Think You’re Funny?.
RAW Runners-Up: Gavin Sempel (VIC), Emma Holland (ACT)

Class Clowns National Grand Final Winners Liam Adam, Carlin Carruth & Kyle Bennett (QLD) as ‘Awkward’!
Class Clowns Runners-Up:
Dusty Diddle (VIC),
Nina Cowley-Mousinho (QLD)
Shiloh Rea (QLD)
Nicholas Doring (NSW)

A BIG YEAR’S ROUND UP AND 5 VERY GOOD SHOWS OF 2017

By Lisa Clark

In 2017 I decided to set a challenge for myself to write up every show that I saw in my Lisa’s Live Comedy Big Year Blog. Well. As you can see, it became harder to keep up with in the second half of the year, even though it seems that is when things are usually quieter, I was wrong and life stayed pretty busy and when it was not it was because I was ill. I still kept other records of my gigs and so was able to list them all, but not reviews sadly, so I don’t have reviews of a lot of my comedy experiences for the last part of the year. I also wanted to keep a pictorial record of gigs, but it’s not always possible to take photos and even in the regular comedy rooms, I was not good at taking subtle photos and got caught out and commented upon/told off. Then my flash went off by mistake. Arrrggghhh! So I gave up on my own photos and got some much better ones from room runners or friends with more experience.

Of course I spent a lot of time at my regular comedy haunt Local Laughs, but managed to visit several other rooms as well. I have had a lot of wonderful comedy experiences this year, especially during the trip to the UK which included seeing Daniel Kitson’s Something Other Than Everything at the Roundhouse in London and two weeks at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival where highlights included seeing The Doug Anthony Allstars still making jaws drop in their home away from home, new discovery Jayde Adams just blowing the room away at The Pleasance media showcase with her surprising vocal talent and the hilarious story that goes with it, seeing Yianni do his best work in some time because it came from his life and his heart, Adam Vincent slaying packed rooms with deep dark tales of suburbia and playing interactive Wifi Wars at midnight.

Other highlights of the year include the final shows of the debauched boutique comedy legend that was The Shelf and in particular the performance of Fringe Wives Club who brought the house down and made everyone rush out to see their show.  Andy Zaltzman did the searing political comedy, Plan Z, that everyone had expected from  Ex Bugler John Oliver when he last toured and finally I adored Sammy J’s Magnum Opus – Hero Compex for a 2nd time, to find it had evolved, as the story had in real life and it was joyful to watch everyone’s jaw dropping and howling with laughter as the story unfolded, knowing where it was going. Under the radar: Not enough people were talking about UK comedian Kieran Hodgson at MICF but my goodness Maestro was a gorgeous show and the joyful weirdness of Aussie duo The Lioness who’s show  Peggy Babcock, Peggy Babcock, Peggy Babcock had a much too short run in an out of the way venue.

Its always hard sorting out a shortlist of the best comedy shows. I have picked out 5 outstanding experiences and they are set down in the order that I saw them.

 

5 VERY GOOD SHOWS OF 2017

Wil Anderson Fire at Wil at The Comedy Theatre, Melbourne. January 22

Lineup: Wil Anderson, Supported by Justin Hamilton

Wil Anderson

January’s highlight was definitely seeing Wil Anderson and Justin Hamilton in a theatre full of excited fans. Both consummate comedians at the top of their game.  Am determined to see Wil’s solo show this year and looking forward to it. I’ve been missing seeing Justin around the traps since he moved to Sydney but am hoping to see more of Wil Anderson, now he’s taken a job in Melbourne breakfast radio.

Hannah Gadsby: Nanette April 6 

Hannah Gadsby

Hannah’s final festival show was indeed a showstopper. It was a show about the Zeitgeist, about equal rights, about truth – in life and in comedy, about standing up and being listened to. It was powerful, moving and of course funny. A masterpiece of Standup. During her interview on Comedian’s Comedian at MICF, Stuart Goldsmith shrewdly asked what would happen if this amazing show won all the awards, like The Barry and even the Edinburgh Fringe Best Comedy award?

Would she still quit comedy? Well all of those predictions have come to pass (including a Helpmann Award along the way) and Hannah is still going strong. Having sold out many shows at the Victorian Arts Centre and The Sydney Opera House she is adding further shows this month to the Opera House, followed by Perth and then a month from February in London at the Soho Theatre. They are selling out.

All comedians should go out on this sort of high. The world is her oyster and she’s certainly making the most of it all. Whatever she chooses to do next, I wish her all the happiness.

My review: http://www.squirrelcomedy.com/?p=11198

Craig Ferguson

Craig Ferguson – The Craig Ferguson Show, Gilded Balloon @ Rose Theatre, Edinburgh. August 7 

Craig Ferguson’s quirky tonight show was a staple in our house and I’m missing his Peabody Award winning interviewing style on late night TV. I’ve been hoping he might at least tour his standup comedy here in Australia, as he has happy memories of performing here in the 80s (as do I), but sadly there is no sign of this, especially as he is now busily hosting a successful drive time radio show. Craig decided to record some of his radio shows live from Edinburgh, taking advantage of all of the gathered performers from around the world to appear as guests, and all of the Squirrels were lucky enough to attend in the wee hours of the Festival. The Rose is a lovely old theatre in the New Town with a great atmosphere and the packed audience had an awesome time.  The live radio broadcast lasted for 2 hours and consisted of two very entertaining in-depth chats with performers who were often old friends of Craig. In our case an old close friend impressionist/comedian Jan Ravens and Scottish writer Iain Rankin. Ron later saw the show with guests Daniel Sloss and Tommy Tiernan and Craig had Aunty Donna on the show towards the end of the run. Its a pity there is no podcasts of these recordings and that the radio show is not broadcast outside of the Americas.

Childproof the Podcast Recording at The Bella Union Bar, Carlton. September 20-22 

Tony Martin, Cristina Laria, Damian Cowel, Roz Hammond, Gerraldine Quinn

Episodes 1 to 6 over three nights – written by Tony Martin & Serina Rowell

Performed by Tony Martin, Geraldine Quinn, Roz Hammond, Andrew McClelland, Damian Cowell, Lachy Hulme, Djovan Caro, Simon Rogers, Casey Bennetto, Serina Rowell, Cristina Laria, Sam Petersen and Jay Mueller as the Narrator.

A brilliant sitcom in 6 episodes about a couple who chooses to be childless while they navigate the changing, diminishing, modern workplace in radio and book publishing and their changing, diminishing friendships as their friends succumb to parenthood and all that entails. The episodes are easily as entertaining & funny as other recent Australian ABC comedies, so it’s surprising that they were knocked back for Television broadcast. The talented performers were all having a ball playing the various characters and Jay Mueller made a brilliant honey tongued Narrator. This was a unique and special experience this year.

These shows were recorded for podcasting and so you can listen to them all here.

Tessa Waters and Laura Davis

Frocking Hilarious at The Comedy Theatre, Melbourne. November 17th 

Denise Scott, Cal Wilson, Fiona O’Loughlin, Anne Edmonds, Celia Pacquoa, Demi Ladner, Tessa Waters, Laura Davis, Kelly Fastuca, Geraldine Quinn, Double Denim.

A fundraiser for Action Aid curated by the inimitable comedy goddess Janet A Mcleod. All of the performers brought their A Game and there was not a weak spot on the night. It really felt like a Comedy Gala and we were all pretty privileged to be there laughing our arses off. Great to have a majority of women in the audience too. It wasn’t just some of the best Australian women in comedy it was some of the best Australian comedy on stage.

 

LISA’S LIVE COMEDY BIG YEAR 2017 – http://www.squirrelcomedy.com/?page_id=10666

Squirrel writers’ 2017 Edinburgh Fringe Round up

So that was the 70th anniversary of the Edinburgh Fringe and Festival. Once again the weather was changeable, with reports that it was the wettest summer in Scotland for 80 years. We arrived in the rain, but the frequent showers were never enough to dampen our enthusiasm. There were four Squirrels in Edinburgh this year and all of us have written below about shows we’ve loved, or not loved, or not had the chance to write about previously.

Hannah GadsbyThe Big news to come out of this special anniversary festival is that Australia’s own multi award winning (The Barry, The Helpmann, Adelaide Best Comedy) comedy champion Hannah Gadsby has won the Best Comedy Show Award at Edinburgh. It was a joint win with John Robins and my impression is that their shows are a sort of yin and yang, with John’s show The Darkness of Robins being an anguished cry of help from the depths of a breakup with his more famous girlfriend Sara Pascoe (who was doing her own take on the breakup in an equally well reviewed but not nominated Fringe show Lads, Lads, Lads) and Hannah’s being a powerful, rallying rant of revelation against the apocalypse, Nanette. Previous Australian winners of Best Comedy at Edinburgh Fringe are Los Trios Ringbarkus, Lano & Woodley, Brendon Burns and Sam Simmons.

Other nominees for the 2017 Edinburgh Best Comedy Award were Ahir Shah, Elf Lyons, Jordan Brookes, Mae Martin, Mat Ewins, Sophie Wilan and Spencer Jones.

Best Newcomer Winner at Edinburgh Fringe was Natalie Palamides for Laid. The Nominees for Best Newcomer were; Chris Washington, Darren Harriott, Ed Night, Kwame Asante, Lauren Pattison, Lucy Pearman and Rob Kemp.

Rob Kemp did win Comedians’ Choice Award for Best Performer and Mat Ewins Presents Adventureman 7: The Return of Adventureman won best Comedians’ Choice Award Best Show.

Hannah will bring Nanette for its premiere season at the Sydney Opera House from  September 27 – October 8, before a string of encore performances at the Arts Centre Melbourne from Nov 18 culminating in Hamer Hall on Dec 1. I shouldn’t have to urge you to see it, if you’ve missed out on it so far.

Squirrel writers’ Edinburgh Fringe Round up

Colin Flaherty

My highlights at Fringe happen to be ones that I have reviewed, in particular Big Howard Little Howard

Big Howard, Little Howard (Howard Read) – Man and Boy

Andrew O’Neill’s Black Magick Fun Hour

Simon Munnery – Renegade Plumber

I also enjoyed Stuart Goldsmith – Like I Mean It, a hilarious hour that follows on from his previous show Compared to What where he continues to explore life with his new wife and son. He presents plenty of brilliant observations and plays around with the bird with clipped wings husband angle perfectly.

One off event WiFi Wars was a hoot, even though many of the games refused to play correctly on my underpowered tablet (I was only expecting to word process and web surf on it after all!). This late night, tech heavy show had punters competing individually as well as in teams. We laughed, we cheered and we got our geek on!

I had high hopes for Boris & Sergey’s One Man Extravaganza, an ambitious show featuring complicated puppetry, a crazy blurb and some wacky characters but I found it overlong and not enough laughs to hold my attention. Apart from the wonderful voicing of the characters, the expressionless puppets failed to connect with me.

Lisa Clark

I loved all the shows I reviewed with Jayde Adams (Is Jayded) being the exciting new discovery of the Fringe for me. The following are shows I loved but did not get a Squirrel write up.

Craig Ferguson ShowCraig Ferguson – The Craig Ferguson Show. All the Squirrels saw Craig’s recording of his live radio show and we all enjoyed it. Starting at 11.30pm to go live for drive time in the USA as well as Canada and Mexico, it went for 2 hours and consisted of two very entertaining in-depth chats with performers who were old friends of Craig. In our case an old close friend impressionist/comedian Jan Ravens and Scottish writer Iain Rankin.

Chris Coltrane – Make Love & Smash Fascism – a rather lovely, warm and approachable political comedian who taught me about the evils of Neo Liberalism which is extreme capitalism & pro privatisation of everything which basically seems to be the road to anarchy.

Dave Johns – I, Fillum Star. Dave Johns has been a jobbing comedian all his life and just as he was planning his retirement (he was going to give kids donkey rides at the seaside), he got a part in a film. On the 1st day director Ken Loach said, oh by the way the film is named after your character because you are the lead. I, Daniel Blake won a swag of awards taking Dave to Cannes and the BAFTAs and giving him a cracking tale to tell, and being a great comedian means Dave knows how to tell it for maximum laughs. This was a joy to experience with the message that it’s never too late.

Yianni Agisilaou – Pockets of Equality. As the title suggests, it’s about sexual politics and pockets. More importantly it was a very personal heartwarming show about love and family and one of the best shows I’ve ever seen Yianni do.

Disappointing shows were; Boris & Sergey’s One Man Extravaganza, a puppet show where three puppeteers per puppet failed to give the faceless repulsive puppets any personality, or make an interesting show. Then there was The Great Comedy Cooking Challenge which in no way described the show at all. The two guys had not planned their Festival show at all leaving the audience more bemused than amused and the main one telling the story of how he fell in love with cooking kept saying “I think that might’ve gotten a better laugh”. Nup.

Back to other highlights for me which were the inimitable and indefatigable Doug Anthony Allstars – Near Death Experience, Wifi Wars live online gaming which was a completely different kind of Festival show and finally, Simon Munnery doing a gorgeously crafted show about fixing things, bookended by two great songs. I was lucky to see Simon when Renegade Plumber had been bedded in and found it to be the tightest show I’ve seen of his in years, it was a beautiful blend of the personal and political, with the title perfectly describing the show.

Phoebe O’Brien

Fringe Shows that were highlights not formally reviewed

2 Become 1

The Swipe Right Theatre Company have created a fun and fabulous night that will capture your heart with its upbeat mix of 90’s music. It will also hit you right in the funny bone with A grade performances from a heavenly cast.

The cast of four stunning vocalists sing the hits; from Destiny’s Child to Des’ree to the Spice Girls and so many more! The 90’s bangers are intertwined within a story of friendship and heartbreak, as one of character’s, Jess breaks up with her boyfriend. After the news, her best gal pals do the only thing that would obviously ‘help’ Jess from a breakdown due to the breakup…speed dating.
At its core ‘2 Become 1’ is heartfelt and funny. You can even have a little boogie and sing-a-long of your own while you’re there. Now tell me, what more could you want? Could you really, really want?

David Quirk – Cowboy MouthDavid Quirk Cowboy mouth

After missing David Quirk during the Melbourne International Comedy Festival, there was no better option than to catch his show ‘Cowboy Mouth’ at the Fringe. Quirk is the king when it comes to long form narrative story-telling, his tales from his childhood and the awkward meeting with his neighbour were tops.

Amongst the anecdotes, the show was knitted together with audio clips of the recollections of dreams people have had about him.
ps. Quirk performed on a bus and had an excellent jacket. Very cool.

Britney – John
A hidden treasure amongst the thousands of incredible Fringe shows was the sketch duo behind John. Charly Clive and Ellen Robertson are two 20 something year old mates from the UK, who make up ‘Britney’.

In their show ‘John’, the pair reminisce about the time they were just out of high school, exploring America and working on a documentary about president of Congress; John Hancock. For the documentary, they filmed interviews around America with other men with the same name. Their trip abroad became the centre for the show, with critique of the footage and their interviewing technique strong points of the show. Their ability to create stand-alone vignettes and natural storytelling was a highlight, revealing the effort both Clive and Robertson put into their follow up to their previous show ‘Britney’…which is also now the name of their duo, not confusing at all. I strongly believe we will be hearing big things from these two talented performers.

Alice Marshall – Blood
In her show solo show Blood, Alice Marshall captivates her audience with wonderfully executed character sketch comedy. Marshall has great comedic timing, while delivering a punchy hour of pure joy. I can’t wait to see more of her work further down the track.

Ron Bingham

My Squirrel fest started with a couple of excellent Aussie acts which turned out to be highlights Laura Davis (Cake in the Rain) and the Doug Anthony All Stars (Near Death Experience).

The three other shows that made me laugh out loud the most were:

Lucy Pearman – Maid of Cabbage Look What Youu Made Me Do

Demi Lardner – Look What You Made Me Do

Mark Steel – Every Little Thing’s Gonna Be Alright.

Lucy and Demi for their props and general air of controlled chaos, and Mark for his political insights and honesty about his recent marital troubles. I also enjoyed Muriel -(Bad Master) for their use of multimedia and fun sketches and The Canon -(A Literary Sketch Show) for their literary humour

I saw some fabulous new talent (two were deservedly nominated for best newcomer – Lauren Pattison and Lucy Pearman) and caught up with some excellent established acts. Saw some early shows and some late ones, drank a little too much of the free alcohol early on, nearly got blown off the top of Arthurs Seat after seeing a show up there called This Arthur’s Seat Belongs to Lionel Richie, and missed a lot of acts (ones I regret most not managing to fit into my schedule include Sarah Kendall, Ingrid Oliver and Hannah Gadsby). Importantly I only saw two shows which didn’t achieve the high standard I expect. Met a lot of lovely people, as always, and have already pre-booked for next year.

Winners of the 2017 Melbourne International Comedy Awards

The final Saturday night at The Festival Club is always a Big night and Max Watts has certainly found ways to squeeze in a hell of a lot more people than Hifi ever did. It was a pretty good line up of performers, with standouts being Geraldine Hickey, Urzila Carlson and Romesh Ranganathan. The low point was having a boring, non-funny stripping hula hooper from Yummy on just before the Awards.

Then around 1am it was time for the Awards Ceremony.

Barry Award – Hannah Gadsby: Nannette

Best Newcomer – Aaron Chen: The Infinite Faces of Chenny Baby
and
Angus Gordon: Sad Boy Comedy Hour

Piece of Wood – Luke Heggie: Rough Diamante

Directors’ Choice – Demi Lardner: Look What You Made Me Do

Vodafone People’s Choice – Judith Lucy  & Denise Scott: Disappointments
and
Wil Anderson: Critically Wil

Golden Gibbo – Granny Bingo: A Visit With Nan In A Caravan

Pinder Prize – Damien Power: Utopia: Now in 3D!

Funny Tonne – Will Erskine – He saw 154 shows in 24 days

Raw Comedy Grand Final

By Elyce Phillips

Raw Comedy is the biggest open mic competition in the country. Over 1,000 acts competed over the last few months in heats in every state, and here it’s down to the final 12. Each comic performs a five minute set and at the end of the show, the judges confer to find a winner. This year’s judges were Susan Provan, Chortle’s Steve Bennett, Neal Downward from SBS, Sarah Dodd and UK comedian Steve Bugeja.

Susie Youssef hosted the two-hour show, keeping the crowd warm with material about performing at a buck’s night and caring for her nephew. Youssef seemed a little on-edge at first, but soon settled into her role and kept the proceedings running smoothly.

The first of the contestants was Andrew Bensley from the ACT, who started the show on a strong note with some solid observational stand-up. His take on Thai massages was fun, but not particularly unique and didn’t stack up against later contenders.

Next up was Hobart’s Isabella Roldan who burst onto the stage brimming with confidence. The latter half of her set where she focused on her Spanish language background was entertaining, however, her entire set was punctuated with little asides and catch phrases that felt very forced. It was a performance that was full of energy, but an energy that was mismatched with Roldan’s stand-up on the day.

Jason Williams then took to the stage, all the way from Darwin. Williams provided some more observational thoughts, with jokes about relatable things like system updates on recently-purchased technology and whitegoods. It was a fine set, performed well, although it felt like material that we’ve heard before.

Perth contestant Shaquille Blackley was the first stand-out of the show, and he walks away with second runner up. A gangly, pale, hipster-looking man, Blackley is just about the opposite of what you would expect from his name, and he uses this to full advantage at the start of his set. His later material about various idioms is clever and the audience clearly loves it.

The second bracket continues with Bonnie Tangey, who presents the first and only deviation from straight stand-up with a prop joke up top. It’s absolutely hilarious, and so it’s a shame when she moves on from this absurd line of humour on to more well-trodden territory about being awkward and single. The set as a whole is great and Tangey comes in as first runner up.

Oliver Twist, a relatively recent immigrant from Brisbane, is up next. Twist’s delivery is a little shaky, but his material is wonderful. His tale of a racist magpie is hilarious and he talks about the police attention he gets in a unique way. Twist may not have walked away with a prize, but with a few more years of performing under his belt, I suspect he’ll do well.

The third group started with Billy D’Arcy from Sydney. His material was well received, though I was personally put off by his tale of getting into a fight at a club over a girl. The main joke of his set seemed to be that he’s not particularly “manly”, which feels pretty outdated in this day and age.

Adelaide’s Carla Wills then took to the stage, boldly stating that she has been inspired to become a pervert. Wills turns public transport harassment on its head, with a story that begins with approaching a man on the bus and telling him he should smile. It’s a terrific set with a clear point of view, but it doesn’t draw a huge response from the crowd – more dry chuckles than uproarious outbursts.

The first of three Melbourne-based contenders is up next – Josh Webb. Webb’s opening gambit starts with a little twist, turning a routine that’s seemingly about gyms into an extensive rant about Jim’s Mowing etc. It dips a little in the middle, but picks up steam the longer and weirder it drags on. Ending the set with an old rap from his school days is an admirable attempt to get the energy of the the crowd up, however, it doesn’t quite hit the mark.

The show heads into the final quarter with Brad Hollis from Adelaide whose stiff, nervous delivery sat somewhere in between very real awkwardness and anti-comedic performance. The character wasn’t quite pushed hard enough to land. There was something really endearing about Hollis’ set, though, and it definitely resonated with pockets of the audience. It was entertaining, but divisive.

Sharon Andrews from Torquay was the penultimate act and she presented herself as one of the more polished acts in the show. Andrews was self-assured and completely owned her stage persona. Her jokes about country lesbians and jockey mix-ups were received well.

Last up was Melbourne’s Zach Dyer, the winner of this year’s grand final. Dyer’s material about Melbourne played well to the home audience, and his take on Pauline Hanson had enough of an idiosyncratic spark to make it interesting. He had an onstage swagger that will no doubt serve him well in his career going forward.

While the judges deliberated, we were treated to a set from the very talented Mae Martin. At this point the show had run overtime, so there were a few walkouts, but it was by no means due to the caliber of comedy on the stage. Martin killed it with stories of her early days in comedy, inspired by the acts that she had just seen.

All in all, it was a grand final with bucketloads of talent, but not a lot of diversity in genre. Of all the entrants in Raw Comedy this year, the pool was whittled down to 12 stand-up acts. Yes, they were all strong stand-up acts, but it’s disappointing to see such homogeneity in style in a competition for fresh faces when the broader festival embraces such a vast range of acts. Having said that, the contenders put on a thoroughly entertaining show and some of them are sure to become big on the local comedy in the years to come.