1. Comedy radio plays, live on stage! Thrilling! Exciting!
2. I do all the voices. Yes, even that one.
3. One episode involves spies and counterfeit money and the other one has Satanists and disappearing buttocks.
4. If you’re a fan of The Goon Show or Hancock’s Half Hour or any of the classic radio comedies, you’ll enjoy Ben Volchok Presents…. This style of humour is very close to my heart and I’ve attempted to channel my love of these wonderful programmes into my writing. There’s lots of quick dialogue, absurdity and wordplay.
5. It’s very, very silly.
Ben Volchok Presents… is on at Howey Downstairs & The Butterfly Club – Downstairs from September 23 to October 1
1. The free food and wine. It’s just like when you go to church for the yummy crackers and wine, or because your dad promises you a Freddie frog after.
2. There are no words in the whole show. You don’t have to understand English or have even gone to school.
3. The Virgin Mary is a badass superhero who has a permit from the government to commit exorcisms pretty much whenever.
4. There is a part of the show that features a realistic tour of the human anatomy. Cool!
5. Sh*t gets really, really weird. It also has a 5 star review and an award nomination from Perth Fringe World.
Virgin Bloody Mary is on at Errol’s from September 21 to 26
By Colin Flaherty
I’m Here is the second Fringe outing from the collective Hit By A Blimp (Caitlyn Staples, Jayden Masciulli and Tiana Hogben), this time exploring the intricacies and minefields of social interactions. Through sketches and musical numbers, we see awkward small talk between two strangers narrated through song, all the possible reasons why your crush hasn’t answered your messages, a third wheel overdoing it trying to join an activity and creative ways to exit a dull situation.
The trio bounced off each other effortlessly and brought their individual talents to the table. Hogben was the strongest singer while the others endeared with their exaggerated performances and interpretive dance. Masciulli sold his comedic anxiety well and along with Hogben acted as straight people to Staples’ wonderful hammy wackiness.
There were plenty of brilliant ideas in this show but in terms of strength of sketches, it was a mixed bag. Some scenes used extensive props for nothing more than lukewarm punchlines. Others were strong concepts that petered out at the end. When they did manage to pair the brilliant ideas with enough hilarious material to fill the sketch, they had me and the rest of the audience laughing heartily.
The way each scene interconnected with the others was a little confusing at times, often with only a throwaway line later on to connect the dots. Minimal costuming meant that many characters seemed so interchangable that you didn’t realise they were different until several lines in. Some sketches seemed to be out of place amongst all the sketches set at parties and with recurring 20 something characters even though they stuck to the theme. With their strange settings and characters, it was these scenes that really stood out and impressed. You’ll certainly never see marine buoys or your food deliverer the same way again!
This show was a fun hour of sketch. Despite the patchiness of some of the jokes, there were plenty of laughs to keep the audience chuckling throughout.
I’m Here is on at Courthouse Hotel – The Jury Room from September 13 to 17
By Colin Flaherty
A Bok in Progress is not your usual work in progress show. While Lauren Bok is genuinely trying out new ideas, this is a work in progress about being a work in progress. Students of the comedic arts will find plenty of giggles, nay guffaws, as she pokes fun at the creative process and the obstacles put before performers. It’s not all inside jokes as the normals will delight in Bok’s relatable material.
There are some clever ideas in this performance. She starts the show with a clean slate and builds upon it with the audience’s help. Those who normally run a mile from audience participation needn’t fear, most of the tasks are administration, holding various props and reacting to ideas. We are taken through the basic building blocks of creating a festival show. We wade our way through a huge list of pun show titles, see a “scientifically generated” blurb and image, see how intro music sets the stage for various types of comedian and hear a personal story about her creative process.
The moments of pure silliness provided the most hilarity as Bok showed off her wonderful physical comedy chops. Her numerous props gave things a touch of whimsy while she pushed some ideas to ridiculous extremes with great results. A serious monologue towards the end was a severe change of pace and mood but fit in perfectly. Thankfully it was broken up with a witty joke about show structure and audience behaviour that was wacky enough for all to enjoy.
While she is given some leeway with this being advertised as a work in progress, not all of the jokes land. Getting the crowd to vocalise a rhythm while drumming the beat was a messy way to start, even with it’s cute pay-off. The blurb generated by algorithm was so long and nonsensical that it evoked bewilderment rather than laughs. These interesting ideas are sure to be licked into shape in the future and Melbourne Fringe is the perfect place to try them out. There are enough laughs here already to satisfy and this has got to be one of the shows that embraces the spirit of the Fringe.
A Bok In Progress is on at Metropolitan Hotel – The Cavern until September 16
1. Are you worried about your super? If you’re not, you should be! Welcome to the Super Woman Money Program.
2. Please note, Super Woman Money Program features financial advice from someone not at all qualified to give it.
3. I have a sock puppet that reads my hate mail.
4. I went to Kmart when I was really hungry and spent a heap of money on gold props, please come and buy tickets to my show.
5. I have a gender pay gap discount – women get a 15.3% discount on full price tickets with the code “IAMASUPERWOMAN” and I’m also donating $1 from every ticket sold to the Victorian Women’s Trust’s Breakthrough initiative, addressing women’s economic security and safety.
Super Woman Money Program is on at Lithuanian Club – Son of Loft from September 15 to 22
1. It’s like overhearing your housemate talking to themselves in the loo after they crept in at 3am except with theatrical conventions, multiple personalities and much more sweat.
2. It’s got dancing. Not the impressive kind where you can see people lift their leg as high as you know you could lift your leg if you ever went to those spin classes you’ve been paying for since 2014. The kind where you go: Yep, knee-height is about as high as a human leg should go. The kind with lots of dorky 80s head pops, silent clicking and shoulder shimmies. The kind you love to bust out in the privacy of your own bathroom. That kind of dancing. Heaps of that.
3. It’s at the Courthouse Hotel, North Melbourne, at the convenient time of 7.10pm. Grab a delicious dinner downstairs before OR after the show, depending on your dining personality type.
4. It’s where you can meet a bunch of wonderfully ridiculous women from 12 to 85 years old, in the one handy location! But also only one woman. All the ridiculous women are me.
5. It’s gonna make you laugh all over the head of the person in front of you, and then go home to call your mum. If you are a mum please come along so I can high-five you in person. You are amazing to me, this show is for you.
Pee Stick is on at Courthouse Hotel – The Jury Room from September 13 to 21