Dave Hynes, The Pineapple Orchestra

By Jess Welch 

Following his first Melbourne International Comedy Festival season last year, Dave Hynes is back with another 50 minutes of delightfully surreal, but incredibly fun, care-free comedy. A mix of stand up, sketch, and almost slapstick physical comedy. It’s a little bit of everything, but it somehow gels together into one charming package.

The Pineapple Orchestra feels wonderfully shambolic and, in a room the size of Crowded in the Vaults: Vault 10, right on the Yarra River, it’s an intimate experience. The show does require ample audience participation, so leave any hesitation at the door. Hynes’ endless enthusiasm shines, but it’s the energy from the audience is what makes this show special. That may be enough to put more than one introvert on alert, but don’t let that discourage you. Hynes immediately encourages the audience to work together. It can take a while for everyone to embrace the idea, but it ends up culminating in audience members cheering each other on, supporting each other and making the space feel safe. Any missteps or mistakes only seem to add to the show and make each night unique.

It might seem out of control at times, yet Hynes doesn’t let it get too far away from him. He reels it in when it gets derailed, drunk audience members or not. He runs the show like a far more seasoned performer, walking the fine line of improvisation and planned material, with almost no distinction between the two. One night might be completely different from another, tempting a repeat viewing, to try to peek behind the curtain at which jokes might make a return performance.

Hynes seemed a little nervous at the beginning, perhaps just the bonus of seeing the first night show, but he soon throws himself entirely, sometimes literally, into the performance. Whilst jokes abound, the physical comedy takes centre stage. The facial expressions are a wonder to behold and I never knew one face could do so many things.

Hynes second outing is a wonderfully silly show. It doesn’t take itself too seriously and sometimes that is exactly what is needed. It feels loose, at times a little too loose, but the time flies by and so long as you strap in for the ride, it’s a rollercoaster that is worth experiencing. It’s not a show to see if you want deep philosophical takes on politics or religion, but if you leave all your worries at the door, embrace the pineapple motif and go with the flow, it’s a fun journey.

One word of caution however – if you are allergic to pineapples, maybe give this show a miss.

The Pineapple Orchestra is on at Crowded in the Vaults: Vault 10.

See website for details: 


The Establishment : Le Bureau de Strange

By Colin Flaherty

With the name The Establishment you could easily expect a show lampooning the Upper British classes. Although they had the air of a pair of aristocratic twits about them, these dapper gents (Neil Frost and Dan Lees) instead gave us a daft hour of unbridled joy. They went out of their way to set our expectations as low as possible but ultimately exceeded this level with everyone finding at least something stupid to laugh at.

Lees’ clowning training got a workout as his physicality provided plenty of colour and movement to cover for a lack of traditional narrative. Frost was no slouch as his merest gesture generating huge laughs. They used the entire room as their playground and frequently kept the punters on their toes with plenty of false starts, strange parlour games and lots of silly straw polls. Both were brilliant in indulging in some surreal verbal flights of fancy within their effortless banter that kept us laughing throughout.

Audience participation featured prominently in this show, both leading punters to pre-scripted punchlines as well as letting them flex their impro muscles a little. The opening night audience were bang up for getting involved but Frost and Lees are suitably non-threatening to ensure results from even the most timid crowd.

It was all about comedic play as they assigned roles to audience members and gave them various things to respond to (nothing too taxing except for one “game” punter). The duo had the brilliant knack of manipulating a crowd with the vaguest of suggestions, then sitting back and enjoying the resulting mayhem. Free form sing-a-longs were immense fun and ad hoc party games had us in hysterics at the wacky results.

This seemingly ramshackle and faux unstructured performance is not everyone’s cup of tea but if you allow yourself to get swept up in the anarchy you’re sure to have a whale of a time.

Le Bureau de Strange is on at The Cooper’s Malthouse until April 7

5 Good Reasons To See Hannah Camilleri in Big Snot

1. See a revolving door of wild yet nuanced characters performed by one person.

2. “Be prepared to embrace the utter ridiculousness that culminates when Hannah weaves her tapestry…” Onya Magazine 2018

3. It’s like screen to stage in Big Snot where Camilleri draws inspiration from VHS classics and 90s TV and performs on a stage. Screen to stage.

4. Camilleri was actually a humble Comedy Festival usher for years and now you can witness all that pent up frustration explode on the other side of the camera, or whatever, in her second Comedy Festival

5. It’s on at 9.45pm so Big Snot could be your final show of the night. We’ve planned your evening: see show at 7.15pm, see the other show at 8.30pm and then head to Big Snot at Globe Alley (formerly Belleville) for 9.45pm

Big Snot is on at Globe Alley from April 15 to April 21

Oliver Coleman – Poolside

By Lisa Clark 

Last time we last saw Oliver Coleman he was working as a duo with Emil Freund in Uncompetent. It was a really enjoyable show and this is no different, except that Oliver proves that he can pull off a fabulous wacky sketch show as a solo artist.

Oliver welcomes us to the space in character as a loud and overbearing pool man with a big fake moustache called Mr Squires. It certainly gives you the vibe of what you are in for. He begins by outlining the rules. There are many and they are very silly. Poolside is full of really interesting funny ideas, big props, gags and one-liners, and he doesn’t stray from the poolside theme too often. Though we did find ourselves in a New York comedy club at one point. But it’s worth it. Oliver brilliantly plays a tough old school New York comic as well as his wife, who cleverly has the same style New York accent. It’s a bravura performance of a character cameo and well worth the segue.

Oliver Coleman with his winning style and excellent comic physicality reminded me of Duff crossed with Francis Greenslade doing a Sam Simmons style show. It’s mostly very loud and in your face, with the occasional quieter moment. He’s not too confronting as to be unbearable though. In his shorts he’s like a big hyper kid who’s had too much red cordial, he’s having fun and really wants us to join in. He never jumps into bullying the audience, but certainly plays around the edges. He makes an effort to be kind to his 2 audience helpmates which keeps the audience on side.

Poolside is jam-packed with laughs and doesn’t let up. There are no dull spots. The delightful centrepiece of Poolside revolves around him stressing over latecomers filling the few empty seats. I wonder how he will manage that when this excellent show starts selling out? He better have a backup plan because those seats are going to be crammed in with punters once word gets around.

Oliver Coleman Poolside is on at Tasma Terrace til Apr 7


Innes Lloyd : Dracula

By Lisa Clark

Innes Lloyd are veteran purveyors of nerdy comedy – Rob Lloyd and David S. Innes. They have previously celebrated Harry Potter and Red Dwarf – amongst others – and of course are pretty famous for their association with Dr Who. Their production of Dracula has not been created with fans of sparkly romantic teen vampires in mind, this has been made for people who are old school Bram Stoker buffs.

It is important to note is that this show is not about any old vampires, there is no mention of Buffy or What We Do In the Shadows. This show is about The Count. Count Dracula. There are still a lot of cute related cultural reference jokes running through it, but it is mostly quite a neat comically theatrical presentation of Stoker’s novel and the way it was composed from letters, diaries and ship logs and such, which certainly made me happy. The crib notes or ‘Fun Facts’ are about the Dracula character and all the different ways he’s been presented in pop culture history with mentions of Blackula and Count Duckula and so forth. In fact I wondered if they created this show just so they could sing the Count Duckula theme song!

There is a lot of skill and experience on display. Great choreography and musicianship, good writing and great performing, as well as fantastically slick lighting and sound from Sam Duncan. The sea shanty is the highlight of the show, being very silly, jaunty and a bit creepy, perfectly capturing the account in the novel. The constant appearances of an unrelated horror film were a bit overdone and out of place though. If they needed to make comedic movie references, Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1992) has more than enough potential material, Keanu Reves, for one.

It is clear that Rob Lloyd is the standout performer here being a very experienced comedy veteran, starting out with The Hounds (with Tegan Higginbotham & Adam McKenzie) who became Watson after he left. David S. Innes is a delightful plucky sidekick playing many outrageously silly characters and they are joined for this production by Jennifer Speirs who is the Straight Guy to Innes Lloyd’s silly stuff, mostly concentrating on playing the Mina Harker character.

I love a group festival show that makes the effort to produce programmes for the audience. Even just a single sheet that celebrates the efforts of everyone involved in the production. It can act as a sort of flyer that they can take to friends. It’s also a fantastic source of information for reviewers!

This was a preview performance, but was pretty polished. Innes Lloyd are very experienced at entertaining a crowd. As this beds in and they become more relaxed about fooling around with it and the audience (there was a little of this tonight which added joyous sparks) it will only get better. For fans of nerd culture Innes Lloyd shows are always a fun night. If you’re a fan of The Count and love a laugh, don’t miss it!

Dracula is on at The Butterfly Club until March 31


5 Good Reasons To See Late Night Party Boyz – Rebel Without Applause

1) If you consider yourself a rebel and are too without applause.

2) To witness the future cult classic that is “Mr. Ice Cream”.

3) Most of the time when people ask Damien and Ross of the Late Night Party Boyz how they come up with their ideas, the assumption is that it involved drugs. For two sketches in this show, it’s actually true – try and guess which ones.

4) One of the last sketches broke a woman into laughter so much during the Adelaide run, it distracted one of the performers to the point they couldn’t put their costume for the finale on properly. The performer was Ross.

5) To witness some of the most silly, ridiculous live and video sketches this Comedy Festival and how two people can blow a wig and shoe budget.

Rebel Without Applause is on at The Tickle Pit at The Croft from April 9 to 20