Joel Creasey : Rock God

By Ellyse ‘O Halleran

In this hilarious light-hearted show ‘Rock God’, Joel Creasey tells audiences about dating life, party life and tales of life as a fan-boy. He charms his audience with embarrassing encounters and run-ins he has had with his idols. He begins with a moving account of how his childhood hero, a Playschool host, let him down in his youth.

Creasey’s shows get bigger and better every year; he’s definitely one to keep an eye on. He recently supported Joan Rivers in New York City so you know he just has to be fabulous. The show is upbeat and perfect if you want to sit back and be absorbed by Creasey’s stories.

Creasey’s anecdotes are witty and fresh and his ability to transition from self-deprecation to sass in seconds is splendid. He has a sweet, whimsical demeanor as he proudly tells the crowd of instances where he channeled his inner bitch to deal with people giving him a rough time. In a nutshell, don’t throw shade or Joel Creasey will sleep with your Zumba instructor.

Creaseys is young, witty and current. The show is perfect for anyone who likes pop culture or grew up in the 90s. It’s great to see such a fresh comedian with the ability to engage with a sold out crowd using only a microphone and a collection of vibrant stories. Having said that, I would like to have seen just a little bit more Zumba.

Rock God is on at the Melb Town Hall – Powder Room and Swiss Club until April 20

Wolf Creek The Musical

By Caitlin Crowley

You don’t need to have seen Wolf Creek the film to be familiar with the story – all-round Aussie bloke psychopath abducts foreign backpackers in the outback for torture and murder sessions. It’s hardly the stuff of musical theatre but that is precisely the point. The cast are quick to admit that they have taken some liberties with the story but what the hell – they’ve taken liberties with the whole musical theatre genre.

Written by Adelaide comedians James McCann and 2013 RAW Comedy winner Demi Lardner Wolf Creek the Musical has already enjoyed successful runs at both Melbourne and Adelaide Fringe Festivals. There’s quite a buzz around this show, and rightly so. This is one hour of laugh-out-loud, charmingly silly fun.

There’s a deliberate B-grade feel to the show, with handmade props, pantomime style gender -swapping roles and drawn-on beards. The ensemble cast is consistently good. McCann, perched to the side of the stage, plays musical accompaniment, sound effects and any necessary expositional filler.

It takes real talent to perform bad dance moves but the very funny Hayman Kent, as one of the two British backpackers, pulls it off perfectly. Chris Knight, complete with beard and blonde wig, is the ‘hot’ friend and Lardner is hilarious as the thick Greek-Australian guy. It will come as no surprise to anyone that our trio’s outback adventure soon goes awry.

Kel Balnaves as a mad-eyed murderer is delightfully menacing and Angus Hodge in multiple roles steals almost every scene he’s in. Most of the songs are punchy although Knight seems to have drawn the short straw by comparison although he makes up for it with an extended over-the-top death scene. The groan-inducing blue gags work for the most part but there was probably one too many “rape dungeons” for this reviewer.

If you’re into bad rhymes, tragic puns and awkward dancing then you’ll really enjoy this show. Check out this talented bunch of weirdos – they’re in murderously good form.

Wolf Creek The Musical is on at Trades Hall – Old Council Chambers until April 20

Paul Foot : Words

By Elyce Phillips

In the opening minutes of ‘Words’, Paul Foot does his best to set the audience’s mind at ease. He gives a rough running order of the show’s themes, just to make sure that no-one gets caught off guard. However if, like myself, you haven’t seen a Paul Foot show before, no amount of introductory explanation is going to prepare you for what’s to come. ‘Words’ is frequently surprising, a little bit controversial and very, very funny.

Foot is a unique figure in the world of stand-up. He spasms across the stage in fits and starts, occasionally pausing to wrack his brain and make sure that his train of thought is correct. And it always is. Despite taking some staggering leaps of logic, when Foot gets to the end of his rambling path of argument, you find yourself seeing the sense in views on masculinity and biology that were initially absurd. Foot’s delivery style is hypnotic at times. He draws you with him as he diverts on screeching loops about inane party guests, only to jolt back to the topic at hand with a return to comparative calmness.

‘Words’ is more than straightforward stand-up. Foot’s section of madness is a wonderful kind of surrealist poetry. Words crash into each other to form meaningless phrases that are delivered with total sincerity. It’s a fascinating bit of comedy. The words have no grounding in reality and mean something different to everyone. For four and a bit minutes you find yourself in a room full of people laughing together for unknown reasons. Foot’s ‘disturbances’ are also scattered through the show – hilarious thoughts that feel like they tell an entire story in a sentence or two.

While most of the show is, as Foot points out, carefully written, his quick wit was on display in moments of audience interaction. Stray garbled comments from overenthusiastic audience members inspired a new Q and A section of the show. A lone dissatisfied man voicing his disapproval in the final minutes led to a wonderfully frenetic diatribe on the subjectivity of opinions, resulting in the man walking out, to the cheers of the rest of the audience.

‘Words’ is an incredibly refreshing piece of stand-up from a masterful comedian. You may not always understand what is going on or how you got there, but you will definitely find yourself laughing.

A heads up – Paul Foot sells merchandise and takes photos up the back at the end of his show, so leave a bit of room in your schedule after this one!

Words is on at The Hi-Fi until April 20

Tegan Higginbotham in Game Changer

By Alanta Colley


The brilliant Tegan Higginbotham is back this Comedy Festival with the third instalment of her sports-themed comedy trilogy; ‘Game Changer’. ‘Game Changer explores everything from Pole ‘Sports’ (no longer Pole Dancing), to the Legend’s league, boxing and to Tegan’s continuing devotion to AFL. How do you change the game when it comes to the tradition-steeped world of sport?

Higginbotham blends commentary of new trends in sport with personal reflections on what sport has meant for her. She examines her personal attitudes and comfort with the ‘sexiness’ of certain new-wave sports. Higginbotham takes the ‘method’ approach to her comedy; after all, if you’re going to talk about boxing or pole dancing – surely first you need to do it! We learn about Tegan’s personal adventures in Pole dancing lessons. Imagine if more comedians committed to their material in the way Higginbotham does!

Tegan poses important observations to us about how female athletes must sell sex as well as skill to gain recognition. Is the formerly Lingerie now ‘Legends’ League demeaning or empowering to those who participate? And who gets to decide which; the players or the punters? Is the very existence of the sport putting that question in the spot light?

The method with which Higginbotham explores her personal relationship with sport and what it has meant to her personally takes a unique place on the comedy scene. Higginbotham’s continual commitment to talking about sport was initially met with scepticism by people who assumed it was for novelty or comedic purposes only. But third show in Higginbotham is now recognised as serious when it comes to her love and knowledge on sport.

While some of the more nuanced Carlton/Collingwood jokes were lost on the non-sports devoted Higginbotham fans in the audience, enough was accessible for all. Tegan’s step towards revealing more of personal self in this show is a welcome one. We’d love to get to know more about the woman behind the Sports Columns in the Age. This show definitely showed potential for Tegan to work within the medium of pathos, as well as her proven talents in the fields of sketch and improv.

Dust off your footy boots, put in your mouth guard, and head along to this funny and fresh scrum of laughter and learning.

Game Changer is on at The Portland Hotel – Gold Room until April 20

Rebecca De Unamuno : Kiss My Date

By Ellyse O’Halloran

Rebecca De Unamuno’s “Kiss My Date” is an insight into her fruitless pursuit to find love online. Her stage presence is strong and impressive, given the intimate setting upstairs at Trades Hall. The show is a refreshing mix of theatrics, impersonations and straight stand-up. Her content is amusing, from recounts of the types of men she has encountered online to random dance numbers.

At the beginning of the show I perceived De Unamuno as an exaggerated characterization. I enjoyed laughing at her desperation and her core belief that singlehood is turmoil. As she revealed raw and sometimes embarrassing encounters of her love life or lack thereof, she became more real. This added a moving tone to the performance. Her self-deprecation was charming but by the end of the show I wanted to pat her on the back and tell her that it was okay to be single.

The majority of the show was heavily scripted and although her performance was great, it was clear at all times that she was reciting a script. Having said that, the writing was fantastic. Ingenious similes and metaphors such as comparing the pursuit to find a formal date to a horse race are scattered through the show.

De Unamuno’s character work is one of the highlights of the show. Using her body and voice, she commits 100% to embodying different kinds of men, using all corners of the small stage to enhance the dynamics.

The moment where De Unamuno most shines is when she reaches out to the audience and improvises a scene off their conversation. This is where her quick-wit and creativity really becomes apparent. In mere seconds, she is able to embody a fully-fledged new character before the audience’s eyes.

De Unamuno concluded the show with a woeful anecdote and I left feeling sorry for her, although the show in its entirety was entertaining and diverse

Kiss My Date is on at Trades Hall – The Evatt Room until April 20

Marcel Lucont : Gallic Symbol

By Lisa Clark

I went in to see Marcel Lucont with some trepidation. I’ve seen Marcel in short bursts and have had mixed feelings about his act. It’s never clear if he’s a specific parody and the character teeters dangerously on the edge of being offensive to French people. At the same time it is a brilliantly realised character in the way that Dame Edna or Borat is, but lacking in the supreme grotesqueness that absurdly makes their abhorrent behaviour more palatable because it is so extreme that it is ridiculous. The important thing that I noticed during Gallic Symbol, however, was that despite my wariness, he made me laugh, a lot.

Alexis Dubus is an English comedian performing as himself in a separate spoken word show in the festival,who could not be more different from the character he created. Marcel Lucont is a sleazy, arrogant, walking French cliché who sneers at his audience (unless they are attractive ladies) with red wine in hand and constantly reminds you about how lucky you are to be in his presence, and in general, the audience laps it up. It has obviously become a very popular character for him and is probably more well-known than he is.

Marcel’s charm is undeniable, and Alexis who is a witty, clever wordsmith, certainly has a lot of fun playing him. To break up what might in lesser hands be a fairly one joke sort of show, Marcel sings songs, reads poetry, reads his autobiography, and performs in filmed skits. He’s a good singer and his songs are amusing and occasionally laugh out loud funny but there is little point to them other than to underline Marcel’s personality. The opening filmed sequence of him running to the show has been done many times now, (I first saw it in a show in 2006 and think it’s been officially done to death.) but the final filmed piece which is a call back to a throwaway line about New Zealand is delightfully brilliant.

Other highlights include a very silly and smart lecture on sex positions that finally got the mostly unimpressed person next to me laughing and the apex of his performance was Marcel doing a so/so impression of an English comedian telling jokes and in the process deconstructing joke telling and becoming very meta. It was a breathtaking, awesome moment that for me makes the show worth the price of admission.

The set is dressed with Chaise lounge, old fashioned suitcases & valises and a vintage dressing table. This and a mockup record album of songs adds to the sense that this show (or perhaps Marcel himself) is set in the past. At times it felt only slightly more sophisticated than a character from ‘Allo ‘Allo or a 1970s film or TV character constantly surrounded by scantily clad anonymous girls with no other purpose than just throwing themselves at him.

The sexism clearly belongs to the character rather than the performer and his enjoyment of sex is usually pretty positive, but the fact that the character is made up of only the worst traits attributed to French people is deeper and more troublesome for me. The character certainly plays to centuries of antagonism between the French and the English, though perhaps in the UK his mocking of the English helps balance it out. I’ve been impressed in the past by Marcel’s surprising ability to control even the rowdiest crowd. His dry, gentle style forces the audience to pay attention. But tonight the audience participation does not go so well. The show ends with Marcel reading out audience member’s tweets and most people in the audience are quiet, intimidated by his sharp tongue, which is not surprising after he catches someone out for pretending to be French. I’m sure he enjoyed the irony of an Englishman pretended to be a Frenchman berating a person for pretending to speak French as much as we did.

I admire Alexis’ acting and the fact that people can be sucked in by the character, believing him to be a real person. At the same time, because he is such a negative character lacking any wink to the audience, I cannot help but compare him unfavourably to Kenny Everett’s gleefully playful Marcel Wave and UK faux French cabaret duo Priorite au Gauche (who were occasionally political, delightfully silly and not unlike Flight of the Conchords).

Overall Alexis has put a lot of work into what is generally a pretty enjoyable show and spending an hour with Marcel Lucont is not without its pleasures. The humour mostly works and the audience doesn’t mind being gently insulted by him. For me the same jokes played differently over an hour wear a little thin but the highlights suggest there could be interesting places for Marcel to venture into the future.

Gallic Symbol is on at The Tuxedo Cat until April 20