World Record Show

By Noel Kelso

If you were one of those kids who always looked forward to getting the newest Guinness Book of World Records, ignoring the feats of strength or athleticism and just poring over the records for most boiled eggs fit in the mouth or most drawings of a cock and balls drawn on one forehead, then this really is the show for you.

Full of silly, stupid and downright ridiculous stunts World Record Show at the Melbourne Town Hall is an hour of awesome hilarity and shambolic daring from start to finish.

Hosts Andy Matthews, Adam Knox and Dave Warneke guide the thronging audience through a series of mad, bad and dangerous to know challenges which rope in some of their fellow comedians from other show.

First off the rank are Adam and Dave whose bitter rivalry is legend and are challenged to find the Most Adorable Baby Photo of themselves. Adam cheats and is disqualified.

The next challenge involves the evening’s first guests – Jared Jekyll and Cameron James – who disappear backstage to see who can place the most temporary tattoos on their body. They will return later.

The second guest is Jon Conway whose challenge – Most People Broken-up With In One Minute – involves members of the audience throwing tiny glasses of water in his face as he tells each one separately that he no longer loves them.

There are five more ludicrous challenges – including a race to the door wearing packets of two-minute noodles as shoes – before the next guest, Rose Callaghan, is brought on to attempt to create the World’s Best Hand Shield From Cheese Slices In One Minute. Adam Knox wins this round, but precisely what a hand shield is and why it needs to be made from cheese slices is still a mystery.

Incidentally – cheese slices make excellent Frisbee alternatives.

This is a silly, hilarious show with originality and brimming with ideas performed by three fabulous comedians and their mates. If you fancy some comedy which will most definitely not tax the mind and is utterly hilarious, then this is the show for you.

World Record Show is on at Melb Town Hall – Backstage Room until April 14
http://www.comedyfestival.com.au/2014/season/shows/world-record-show-adam-knox-andy-matthews-dave-warneke

Andy Matthews : String Theory

By Noel Kelso

Former RAW Comedy finalist Andy Matthews’ new show String Theory is silly. Very, very silly. It is also very, very clever. To explain how the two are connected you may need to be either very clever indeed or just open to the absurd ideas and stories Matthews puts together in this show. Possibly both, because those ideas are sometimes surreal, sometimes profound and often quite touching.

So – what is String Theory?

Well, it could be just a series of tall tales told on stage by a man with thick glasses and blonde hair, accompanied by a wandering live soundtrack provided by Mitchell Berk twiddling nobs from the side of the stage.

During the show the audience learns the innermost thoughts of Captain Flinders; hears how the loneliest man in the world fills his life; is made privy to how the capitalist economy was ultimately saved; hears a bush poem detailing the videogaming triumphs of an octogenarian farmer and peers into the decision-making process for selecting a new national anthem.

Are any of these things connected?

Possibly. It depends on your perspective and whether or not you can see in eleven dimensions – but that’s not important.

This is a show full of intelligent, surreal comedy which brims with ideas and which leaves the audience laughing and thinking.

Matthews delivers his material in deadpan fashion, rather like someone giving a rather plain lecture. This juxtaposition of the absurd with the mundane only serves to accentuate the humour in each of the tales. He is clearly very comfortable on stage, delivering his stories with a casual manner which makes it all the more easy for the audience to engage with the material and laugh along. This is very much a show which requires repeat viewing as Matthews has crammed so many ideas and subtle gags into his fifty minutes that afterward it may be difficult to remember every hilarious little aspect.

String Theory is on at ACMI – Games Room until April 6
http://www.comedyfestival.com.au/2014/season/shows/string-theory-andy-matthews

Shows at the 2014 Melbourne International Comedy Festival previously reviewed by Squirrel Comedy

By Colin Flaherty

It’s not long until the 2014 Melbourne International Comedy Festival gets into full swing. To assist you in navigating the colossal program, here are 26 shows that we have reviewed in other festivals. Keep in mind that all shows will have undergone a fair bit of spit and polish since we last saw them.

2014 – When We Were Idiots: A Comedy Walking Tour Hosted by Xavier Toby
Burke & Wills Statue, City Square
http://www.squirrelcomedy.com/?p=4924 (Melbourne Fringe 2013)

Alexis Simmonds 0-9 Tales of a Straight, Single Cat Lady
Comedy On Collins
http://www.squirrelcomedy.com/?p=3406 (MICF 2013)

Andy Matthews – String Theory
ACMI – Games Room
http://www.squirrelcomedy.com/?p=5133 (Melbourne Fringe 2013)

The Boy With Tape on His Face – More Tape
Forum Theatre – Upstairs
http://www.squirrelcomedy.com/?p=5466 (Adelaide Fringe 2014)

Cam Knight – 100 Percenter
The Upstairs Lounge @ Hairy Little Sista
http://www.squirrelcomedy.com/?p=5443 (Adelaide Fringe 2014)

CJ Delling – Reality Bandit
The Bull and Bear Tavern
http://www.squirrelcomedy.com/?p=5448 (Adelaide Fringe 2014)

FanFiction Comedy
Melb Town Hall – Cloak Room
http://www.squirrelcomedy.com/?p=4332 (Edinburgh Fringe 2013) & http://www.squirrelcomedy.com/?p=3380 (MICF 2013)

Impromptunes: The Completely Improvised Musical
Trades Hall – The Annexe
http://www.squirrelcomedy.com/?p=5083 (Melbourne Fringe 2013)

The Improv Conspiracy : A Night in Chicago
The Croft Institute
http://www.squirrelcomedy.com/?p=4865 (Melbourne Fringe 2013)

Marek Platek : Wormhole
The Provincial Hotel
http://www.squirrelcomedy.com/?p=5009 (Melbourne Fringe 2013)

Juliette Burton – When I Grow Up
Trades Hall – The Meeting Room
http://www.squirrelcomedy.com/?p=4284 (Edinburgh Fringe 2013)

Late Night Letters and Numbers
Melb Town Hall – Powder Room
http://www.squirrelcomedy.com/?p=3846 (MICF 2013)

The Little Dum Dum Club Live Podcasts!
http://www.squirrelcomedy.com/?p=3469 Five Boroughs
(MICF 2013)

Marcel Lucont : Gallic Symbol
The Tuxedo Cat
http://www.squirrelcomedy.com/?p=2701 (Adelaide Fringe 2013)

Nellie White is The Shitty Carer
Imperial Hotel
http://www.squirrelcomedy.com/?p=5093 (Melbourne Fringe 2013)

Political Asylum Late Night Riot!
Melb Town Hall – Supper Room
http://www.squirrelcomedy.com/?p=3785 (MICF 2013)

Pop Mashup : Happy Birthday Doctor
The Butterfly Club
http://www.squirrelcomedy.com/?p=5101 (Melbourne Fringe 2013)

Radio Variety Hour
Comedy On Collins
http://www.squirrelcomedy.com/?p=5089 (Melbourne Fringe 2013)

Rhys Nicholson – Eurgh
Portland Hotel – Gold Room
http://www.squirrelcomedy.com/?p=5424 (Adelaide Fringe 2014)

Sam Allen & Chris Harrigan Inside the Egg: The Life of Anne Geddes’ Prisoner Children
ACMI – Games Room
http://www.squirrelcomedy.com/?p=4842 (Melbourne Fringe 2013)

Set List
Melb Town Hall – Lower Town Hall & Victoria Hotel – Vic’s Bar
ttp://www.squirrelcomedy.com/?p=3748 (MICF 2013)

Simon Taylor : Funny
Imperial Hotel
http://www.squirrelcomedy.com/?p=5024 (Melbourne Fringe 2013)

Sitcom Theme Song Singalong and Trivia
The Provincial Hotel & Imperial Hotel
http://www.squirrelcomedy.com/?p=4930 (Melbourne Fringe 2013)

Stephen Hall : Raiders of the Temple of Doom’s Last Crusade
Comedy On Collins
http://www.squirrelcomedy.com/?p=4983 (Melbourne Fringe 2013)

Wizard Sandwiches : The Last Lunch
Trades Hall – The Music Room
http://www.squirrelcomedy.com/?p=5004 (Melbourne Fringe 2013)

Wolf Creek : The Musical
Trades Hall – Old Council Chambers
http://www.squirrelcomedy.com/?p=5049 (Melbourne Fringe 2013)

String Theory – Andy Matthews

By Lisa Clark

Andy Matthews is a charming performer with a clever mind and a sharp, perverse wit. Originally from Tasmania he has been performing in Melbourne for only a few years and his stand up is nerdy, impressive and his own. After doing shared festivals in the past, this is his first solo festival show. String Theory is a striking showcase for his writing and storytelling skills.

As we enter the small rather packed Loft, Andy is engaging us in some lightly awkward small talk. He explains that there is no backstage for him to hide in and pop out from. It’s actually a good little space for this intimate performance but it does get rather hot, so you might want to dress lightly. His introduction is a warm, inviting one, but it comes with a warning. “Pay attention”. This is not a laid back romp, it’s time to switch on your brains and keep up. We are also introduced to his brother George on the synth who noodles away on his instrument throughout and gives a lovely “Look Around You” early 80’s science documentary feel to the show, particularly to the String Theory segments that ‘tie it all together’.

String Theory is the sort of phrase that keeps coming up on Big Bang Theory and might have piqued your curiosity about what it’s about, well maybe you should be going to a science lecture rather than a comedy show. Apparently Andy Matthews was inspired to do this show after being disappointed by the film ‘Cloud Atlas’. I’ve not seen it but I don’t expect that would change the way you experience Andy’s show which is basically a string of absurd stories strung together by some string theories of Andy’s.

The stories are all bizarre, surprising and densely written. They are often told as if read from a primary source. My favourites are logs from some of explorer Matthew Flinder’s lesser known anachronistic travels , a story told through letters of complaint and a Ballad of Michael Burt, in which a farmer becomes an unexpected hero. The laughs at the beginning, for Flinder’s story were loud and constant, but as the show went on it petered out somewhat and the room became pretty quiet. The stories were all entertaining but they were so densely written and jokes piled on top of each other so that they were hard to catch and left little space to laugh, less you miss more of the story. The stuffy room did not help.

The humour in this show is poetic and literary and would suit fans of absurdest writers such as Lewis Carroll. It is laugh out loud at times and amusing, but more of a spoken word comedic essay rather than a standup comedy performance. With more experience, Andy could work on perfecting his delivery, so that his stories flow better and work better as a performance. At the moment, you can hear that the stories are well written but they are a bit heavy going as a long form performance piece for a comedy audience. Worth a go if you are an adventurous fan of the Absurd.

Andy Matthew’s String Theory is on at Fringe Hub – Son of Loft

http://www.melbournefringe.com.au/fringe-festival/show/string-theory/

5 Good Reasons to see 10:45pm World Record Show.

THE 5 STUPIDEST WORLD RECORDS WE’LL ATTEMPT:

1. DARING STUNTS:
Alasdair Tremblay-Birchall and Pat Burtscher will compete to see who can snorkel in a fish tank the longest, whilst completing puzzle challenges.

2. SEX APPEAL:
Greg Larsen will try and set the record for the ‘fastest time to get an erection and play Baker Street on saxophone.’

3. YOUR CHANCE TO MAKE HISTORY:
We’re going to break records with the audience:
– Most people eating a single Le Snak biscuit.
– Most people pretending to fate at once.
– Most people saying ‘Beat Cancer’ in Chinese (all real records).

4. TRUE LOVE:
We’re going to lock comedian and local lover Jonathan Schuster in a sound proof booth with a stranger for an hour and get to them to complete a series of scientific experiments to see if we can break the record for ‘Fastest time for Jonathan Schuster to fall in love.’

5. REAL RISKS:
Hosts Adam Knox and Dave Warneke will compete to break ‘The world’s most terrifying message left on their own mother’s voice mail…’

(We’re also going to try a bunch of real records including the LONGEST EVER VARIETY SHOW on Saturday October 5th from 10am at Tuxedo Cat).

The most chaotic and unpredictable comedy show of the Fringe is on at Tuxedo Cat on Friday and Saturday nights at 10:45pm from September 20 – October 5.

http://www.melbournefringe.com.au/fringe-festival/show/10-45pm-world-record-show/

These Kids are Good.

By Lisa Clark

It’s great to see a show where you get a taste of several performers, to give you an idea of what they are like and hopefully encourage you to see their solo shows. This one is six regular comedians, plus a guest, who do around five minutes each. If one doesn’t appeal, it won’t be long before you’re checking out the next one.

The comedians appearing in this show have been handpicked by affable host Tom Ward, most famously best friend of Josh Thomas in real life as well as playing the part in the TV series ‘Please Like Me.’ Tom is getting a fine reputation of his own in comedy circles and has chosen the kind of comedian that he enjoys and is unsurprisingly closest to his own and Josh’s style. So we get a line-up of six youngish gen Y bespectacled and/or bearded, smart, slightly awkward, gentle charmers doing a modern brand of observational humour and getting away with the occasional filth. These are not ‘angry young men’ (or woman) shouting about what boils their blood, they’re more likely to be bemused or annoyed about stuff.

Some of the performers though unknown have been treading the boards for a while and are pretty solid standups including the laid back Alasdair Tremblay-Birchall, cheeky Jonathan Schuster and ever delightful Neil Sinclair. Then there is Nellie White who’s been living away from Melbourne, in the UK and Perth for the past six years. She’s someone I’ve always admired for being very left of centre, if a little nervous in her delivery. She’s doing some filthy gear and it’s nice to have her back on the scene.

It’s lovely to discover new faces too like tonight’s guest comedian John Campbell (he had a MICF show last year, but is new to me) reading his annoyed letter about public transport and the confident Andy Matthews who is currently doing a double act in the festival with Tony Besselink

I’ve seen several of these comedians performing elsewhere and they’ve been refreshing in the line up and often even killed the room, but all together, I felt they needed some sort of contrast to add more balance to the hour. Still, if this style of comedy is what really rocks your boat, it’s a great way to see some appealing up and comers who are pretty good at it.

These Kids are Good is on at The Imperial Hotel
http://www.comedyfestival.com.au/2013/season/shows/these-kids-are-good