Bart Freebairn: Ultra Power Lord

By Lisa Clark 

Bart Freebairn certainly has one of the funniest show descriptions in the Fringe Guide and it doesn’t let us down. Bart comes out fighting – in his own kooky comedian kind of way – all energy (even on a Wednesday evening) and ready to give us his best.

Bart is exploring his own lack of machismo; why and how he doesn’t enjoy the sorts of things that men in particular are supposed to get a kick out of. He certainly admires other men doing these things from a distance, with a delightful naughty twinkle in his eye. The bulk of the humour comes from his own inabilities in manly pursuits such as his lack of prowess in fighting, working out or casual vomiting.

He recounts for us his experience at Splendour in the Grass, his lack of joy in camping in general and why he’s staying away from certain substances nowadays. I particularly enjoy his impressive impressions of philosophical bogans, (who I feel like I’ve met and had conversations with at parties). Although he is sending them up there is no sense of malice behind the caricature. There is also a hilarious story about his dog, who like himself is a fairly ineffective master of defence.

His pub stand up and skilful Emceeing experience comes to the fore when he has to deal with disruptive audience members in the small space. Although it does break up the rhythm of the show somewhat it also leads to some delightful tangents and a learning experience for both Bart and his audience. Like the show’s description (or provocation if you will) his attitude is ‘Bring it ON’ and he shows that though he may not be good at street fighting, he can handle himself in a stand up setting where he does prove to be somewhat of a Power Lord.

Bart Freebairn has been doing comedy around the traps in Melbourne for some time or as he explains in his sketchy bio online “for a while now”. It’s clearly long enough to develop a distinctively charming and goofy style. He commands the spotlight with ease and can confidently keep an audience laughing for an hour at his enjoyable stories and quirky way of looking at stuff.

Bart Freebairn: Ultra Power Lord is on at The Imperial Hotel

http://www.melbournefringe.com.au/fringe-festival/show/bart-freebairn-ultra-power-lord/

Wake Up, Sheeple! by Sam Rankin

By Colin Flaherty

With the title Wake Up, Sheeple! and its advertising material (text manually typed with the classified content blacked out) this show had my mind racing as to what it could be. The most obvious scenario would have been the demented rantings of a lunatic played for laughs. Instead what we got was a fun comedic lecture about all things conspiratorial. To top it off, our host was a genuinely friendly fellow; far from the unstable basement dweller or ‘enlightened’ stoner we may have been expecting.

Sam Rankin explored a number of conspiracy theories and showed us the laughably flimsy reasoning behind them. The ridiculousness of those theories were presented with lots of visual aids, audio clips and many witty quips. This field can be easy to ridicule so he used many cleverly amusing concepts to get his points across. He avoided going for the obvious punchlines and added some wonderful jokes from different angles which were so much stronger.

He delved deeper with some songs and a bit of role-playing with audience members. His opening night audience obliged with minimal prompting as he went to great lengths to maintain a non-threatening environment. We were like putty in his hands (gullible fools, perhaps?).

Linking the topics was Dale, a junior member of the Illuminati getting a grilling by an unseen superior. It involved some wonderful character work by Rankin who, with his cape and aluminium foil hat, played an adorably naïve guy whose ambitions for world domination fell well short of those expected by the hierachy. These segments gave the show a fun narrative arc that had an amusing conclusion and a brilliant original song to boot.

This was a tech heavy production with lighting used to set the mood, multiple microphones to enable audience participation and many audio cues for Rankin to react to. His Techie was the straight man in this one man show and was clearly indispensible.

An amusing and informative show, it combined stand up with theatre in a seamless manner. Be prepared to shed your paranoia and laugh heartily.

Wake Up, Sheeple! is on at The Tuxedo Cat at 7.15 until September 20.

http://www.melbournefringe.com.au/fringe-festival/show/wake-up-sheeple/

Sonia Di Iorio : Brain Colours

By Noel Kelso

One of the revelations of the last couple of years of attending live comedy shows has been the quality of sketch comedy which is coming through on the scene. This allows the comedians to keep the laughs flowing in a series of bite-sized segments without the need for a continuous narrative or awkward gear-changes in topic which can sometimes arise in stand-up. Local talents such as Lords of Luxury, Wizards Sandwiches and the sketch Gods that are Jimmy James Eaton and Jason Geary have been joined by a fresh voice from the world of stand in the form of Sonia Di Iorio.

Sonia is perhaps more familiar to regular comedy attendees as a stand-up comedian – her previous show ‘Don’t Kiss The Weird Girl’ being an hour of stand-up based around her experiences of others perceptions of her in contrast to her own which entertained audiences at the last Fringe and Comedy festival. Here she tickles the funny bone with a different tactic inhabiting the lives of over twenty different characters each caught in their own bizarre, sometimes cringeworthy, situations.

Clearly an accomplished performer, Di Iorio has no qualms of allowing each scene to form from its own premise in a clear and concise manner such that the audience are instantly familiar with the scenario being presented so that there is the minimum of dead-air between sketches. Characters are believably sketched in just the first moments of appearing, their form and personalities clearly distinguishable from each other through the performer’s, often subtle, physical and vocal mannerisms.

Through the course of the show we meet the owner of a New Age herbal medicine shop who is really the victim of nominative determinism; learn how blokes form opinions of one another via their chosen nickname and eavesdrop on the readings being made by an honest psychic. There are some running gags also – such as a character who periodically appears and gets lost in the high-energy music to which they are listening or the person listening to tunes about the apocalypse – which have rather satisfying and very funny conclusions to them. One of the most memorable sketches involves very few words and is a testament to the comedian’s ability to communicate largely through body language as she procrastinates and becomes increasingly more distracted by a bag of crisps.

Sometimes sketch comedy can suffer from the need to transition from one scenario into the next, particularly if the show only has one performer but Di Iorio manages these transitions for the most part smoothly and delivers her lines clearly and distinctly so as to leave no confusion as to when we have begun a fresh scenario.

Overall this is a very funny show from a performer who seems to have found their calling and I look forward to seeing more sketch comedy from her in future.

Sonia Di Iorio – Brain Colours is on at the Imperial Hotel at 6pm until September 25th.
http://www.melbournefringe.com.au/fringe-festival/show/sonia-di-iorio-in-brain-colours/

5 Good Reasons to See Impromptunes: Whose Chorus Line Is It Anyway?

1. Improvised + musical + comedy

When you put these three things together, you get magic. This show is an incredible experience for audiences as you get to watch a fully fledged musical created right in front of your eyes. Amazing!

2. One night in Lithuania
The show is on at The Lithuanian Club on Errol St. It’s an amazing space – with a bar where the drinks can be purchased at Lithuanian prices!

3. See it while you can
Every other Impromptunes season has sold out by the end. Go early, so you can be the one telling others to, not the one missing out on closing night!

4. See it and see it again
Every show is completely different, so you can head to North Melbourne and start your night with Impromptunes and then head to another show – any night of the week! (Except Mondays. No one likes Mondays)

5. They’re presenting a new format
This work has never been done before – anywhere. So you can guarantee you’ll see nothing else like it in all of Fringe.

For tickets and more information see the Fringe Website:

http://www.melbournefringe.com.au/fringe-festival/show/impromptunes/#

5 Good Reasons To See The Earth is Flat by Simon Godfrey

1. I play 22 characters, one of which is Clive Palmer and when it comes to comedy, that man is a blank cheque.

2. I also play a horse. It’s taken me 30 years to realise, but I am happiest when pretending to be a horse. I just think that’s psychologically interesting.

3. There are very few things that are better than medieval cardinals hatching a dastardly plan. There are also very few things better than the word ‘dastardly’. The Earth is Flat features both.

4. The science underpinning the show ranges from unlikely, to improbable, to impossible. Come and see science nerds in the audience silently seething, desperate to jump on twitter to attack my poor grasp of physics. #HowCanYouSawTheEarthInHalf

5. The Herald Sun said “Godfrey will have you uncontrollably cackling.” I don’t know what it is about my comedy that turns people into witches. Most likely, it’s the cauldron and my pact with the devil.

For Tickets and Information check out the Fringe Website:
http://www.melbournefringe.com.au/fringe-festival/show/the-earth-is-flat/

FIVE GOOD REASONS to see A FOUR-EYED GUIDE TO THE GALAXY by Rowena Hutson

1) There’s a spaceship, a sausage dog and an astronaut suit. Each fits perfectly inside the other. Like Russian Dolls. Or like a sausage dog inside an astronaut suit inside a spaceship.

2) There’s a lot of interesting space facts that we learnt from Eric Idle.

3) There’s quite a lot of floating (in zero gravity). This activity is optional for audience members. Particularly those who get car sick.

4) The set is a DIY obsessive’s heaven so you may, just may, learn how to make your own jetpack.

5) This is a show about life, the universe and everything. The answer isn’t, but could quite possibly be, 42, so bring your towel, just in case.

For Tickets and more infor see the Fringe Website
http://www.melbournefringe.com.au/fringe-festival/show/a-four-eyed-guide-to-the-galaxy/