Andy Matthews & Alasdair Tremblay-Birchall – Sci-Fi Sketch Experience

By Colin Flaherty

Apparently set in a future after the Robot Apocalypse, the Sci-Fi Sketch Experience is a series of vignettes by the Andy Matthews and Alasdair Tremblay-Birchall. Mankind’s outlook may seem bleak but they introduce us to many wacky characters, lifestyle choices and helpful products that keep the human race ticking along in this wasteland.

Mathews and Tremblay-Birchall have both been in the comedy writing game for years and host a podcast together so it’s only natural that they have put their heads together to produce this brilliant work. Stuffed full of imaginative ideas and witty wordplay, each scene ramps up the absurdity before hitting us with brilliant punchlines. They explore themes from completely surreal to slightly sinister to clever political comment. This is sketch at its finest.

The guys throw themselves into all of their characters with gusto. Performing as a duo, you would expect these scenes to be played using a standard straight man/nutbag format but all of the roles are played manically broad. It’s the varying levels of craziness that keep the laughs coming at a rapid pace. If you’ve ever wanted to see Tremblay-Birchall doing an accent other than his Canadian one, this where you’ll see it (and it’s a fine one too!).

Some scenes make use of video projected onto venetian blinds which reminds me of 80s Sci-Fi Noir ala Blade Runner. The props used in this show are immensely creative and could only come from the warped minds of this duo. Items such as sentient kitchenware and a demonstration device for a sleep disorder has the audience in hysterics. This is a hilarious multimedia experience.

Sci-Fi Sketch Experience is on at Comedy Unexpected until April 8
https://www.comedyfestival.com.au/2018/shows/andy-matthews-and-alasdair-tremblay-birchall-sci-fi-sketch-experience

5 GOOD REASONS TO SEE ANDY MATTHEWS AND MATT STEWART IN LOGISTICAL NIGHTMARE

1. You woke up in a ditch with no memory of who you are and where you came from. The only possible trace of your former identity is a single ticket to Andy Matthews and Matt Stewart in Logistical Nightmare.

2. You run a pest control company that recently decided to launch a new range of rat poisons to be called Andy Matthews and Matt Stewart in Logistical Nightmare. Your legal team insisted you see the show to confirm there were no potential licensing issues.

3. You believed that the Tuxedo Cat was a real cat and you’ve always wanted to spend 50 minutes inside a giant cat, and this seemed like too good an opportunity to pass up.

4. You only live next door and you thought you’d pop in with a casserole to welcome the new neighbours.

5. Bobby always said you’d meet up again at Andy Matthews and Matt Stewart in Logistical Nightmare, in this very place, at this very spot. The girls at the office said you were crazy to keep on believing, but here you are, and boy-howdy, if that figure in the corner doesn’t look just like Bobby used to, hunched over his coffee, with half an eye on the door, and the other eye and a half on some distant memory, that he never dared to share with anyone.

6. You appreciate performers who have no respect for the number 5.

Andy Matthews and Matt Stewart in Logistical Nightmare is on at The Tuxedo Cat from April 7

http://www.comedyfestival.com.au/2016/season/shows/logistical-nightmare-andy-matthews-matt-stewart

Squirrel Comedy’s Recommended and Previously Reviewed Shows at Melbourne International Comedy Festival 2015

By Lisa Clark

Well the Squirrels are getting ruffled up and ready for autumn nut collecting. And comedy reviewing. There are soooo many shows on offer at the 2015 Melbourne International comedy Festival and it can be very difficult for us to see everything we want to see, let alone review everything we want to review. For those readers who are planning their Festival schedules and are in need of help, we have some good news: Squirrel Comedy has previously reviewed thirty of this year’s shows and we have laid out links to all those reviews below.

 

First Up here are some brilliant shows I previously saw & loved but Squirrel Comedy hasn’t reviewed.

I recommend you see:Claire Hooper School Camp

Claire Hooper’s School Camp

Claire takes us back to school days in a raw & truthful way where nostalgia takes some surprising and dark turns that make this show very special.

 

Celia Pacquola – Let Me Know How It All Works Out.

Celia’s show about fortune telling and her international lifestyle was another of Celia’s crowd-pleasing corkers.
Celia Pac Let me Know

Barry Nominated last year as word got around it was selling out like hotcakes, so if you weren’t lucky enough to see this gorgeous show better book now.

 

Denise Scott – Mother Bare

Denise deservedly won the Barry Award last year for her droll and often riotous reflections on motherhood and other aspects of her comedic life.Denise Scott Mother Bare pic

She’s only doing four shows this year at the fan friendly time of 4.30 Sundays, so get your tickets early.

 

 

And now for shows that we have previously reviewed.

Particular highlights this year that I can also recommend include:

Are You Afraid of the Dark by Watson Watson Afraid of the Dark

Watson’s funny and occasionally genuinely scary show is not for those with a nervous disposition or heart condition but my goodness it is a monstrous load of fun. It can only fit smallish audiences into the space at the Old Melbourne Gaol so book early, I hear the first week is booking out fast. Not surprising as this show won Best Comedy at the Melbourne Fringe Festival and considering it is site specific it is one you will have to come to Melbourne to see.

 

Bart Freebairn Ultra Power LordBart Freebairn pic

Bart is a comedian at the top of his game just waiting to be discovered by the mainstream. I get the joyful shivers when I see a stand up comedian reach a point where they can host a room and own it keeping everyone rolling with laughter non stop. Bart is there and I hope everyone loves Ultra Power Lord as much as I did at Fringe last year.

 

Bucket’s List by Sarah Collins starring Justin Kennedybuckets list

Buckets List is a whimsical, beautiful and of course very funny tale with a star turn by the amazing Justin Kennedy (who we just don’t see enough of on the circuit any more – I miss him, but if this is the sort of work he’s producing then I’ll forgive his absence). Justin is blessed with the ability to make an audience laugh without saying a word and when I see independent theatre this good I think our major theatre companies should have a good hard look at themselves.

 

Damian Callinan – The Lost WW1 Diary of Private Paddy CallinanPaddy Callinan

A perfect show for this anniversary of ANZAC it’s another comedy character tour de force by Damian where truth and tall tales blur with loads of laughs and a streak of darkness. The true spirit of the ANZAC is thoroughly celebrated.

 

We can’t wait to discover new exciting comedy at this year’s Melbourne International Comedy Festival  but meanwhile

Here’s the full list with links of those we reviewed earlier:

The 13–Storey Treehouse

http://www.squirrelcomedy.com/?p=6692

Anthony Jeannot is Unaccept-a-bubble

http://www.squirrelcomedy.com/?p=7985

Bart Freebairn: Ultra Power Lord

http://www.squirrelcomedy.com/?p=7643

Clem Bastow – Escape From LA

http://www.squirrelcomedy.com/?p=7956

Damian Callinan – The Lost WW1 Diary of Private Paddy Callinan

http://www.squirrelcomedy.com/?p=6010

Dr Brown – Befrdfgth

http://www.squirrelcomedy.com/?p=1244

Dylan Cole – The Moon in Me

http://www.squirrelcomedy.com/?p=7760

Fancy Boy Variety Show

http://www.squirrelcomedy.com/?p=6647

Faulty Towers – The Dining Experience

http://www.squirrelcomedy.com/?p=1633

Geraldine Hickey – Listen Out For The Castanets

http://www.squirrelcomedy.com/?p=7669

I Love Green Guide Letters Live

http://www.squirrelcomedy.com/?p=5892

Justin Kennedy – Bucket’s List

http://www.squirrelcomedy.com/?p=7723

Late Night Letters and Numbers

http://www.squirrelcomedy.com/?p=3846

Lee Naimo – Finding Lee

http://www.squirrelcomedy.com/?p=7970

Lisa-Skye’s Lovely Tea Party

http://www.squirrelcomedy.com/?p=5880

The Little Dum Dum Club Live

http://www.squirrelcomedy.com/?p=5938

Luke McGregor – I Worry That I Worry Too Much

http://www.squirrelcomedy.com/?p=6045

Mark Butler – Grammar don’t matter on a first date

http://www.squirrelcomedy.com/?p=7885

Political Asylum – Late Night Riot

http://www.squirrelcomedy.com/?p=3785

Sam Rankin – Wake Up, Sheeple! (2.0)

http://www.squirrelcomedy.com/?p=7639

The Sexy Detectives – Mono Logs

http://www.squirrelcomedy.com/?p=7952

The Sound of Nazis

http://www.squirrelcomedy.com/?p=7712

The Umbilical Brothers – KiDSHoW – Not Suitable for Children

http://www.squirrelcomedy.com/?p=6870

Stuart Daulman is an Absolute Credit

http://www.squirrelcomedy.com/?p=7706

Stew Walker – A Hard Day’s Night of Beatles Parodies

http://www.squirrelcomedy.com/?p=7920

Gary Portenza: Apologies in Advance

http://www.squirrelcomedy.com/?p=7915

Set List

http://www.squirrelcomedy.com/?p=6695

Watson – Who’s Afraid of the Dark

http://www.squirrelcomedy.com/?p=7786

World Record Show with Andy Matthews, Adam Knox and Dave Warneke

http://www.squirrelcomedy.com/?p=5973

Zoe Coombs Marr – Dave

http://www.squirrelcomedy.com/?p=6963

 

Andy & Nellie’s Secret Second Family Variety Show

By Colin Flaherty

A Biscuit Heiress and a Quoits Champion find their marriage on the rocks. Rather than attending counselling, they slug it out at The Concerned Billionaire’s Club AGM where the Champs’ bastard children perform in an attempt to change his wifes’ mind not to leave him. The result is the most unlikely and creative framework for a variety show imaginable.

Some beautifully insane characters were created to inhabit this elaborate world that was so much more than just linking material for some guest performers. You often found yourself patiently sitting through an act just to get back to the main story. Nellie White portrayed the unemotional, power crazed Heiress with wonderful detached pomposity while Andy Matthews played the neutered patriarch who relayed the majority of the plot exposition through lengthy monologue. A particular stand out was Dave Warneke as the slightly backwards son of the couple. He threw himself into the role wholeheartedly and nothing was too demeaning for a joke, no matter how minor the pay off, which had everyone waiting to see what he would do the next time he stepped on stage.

Through all the silliness, bad puns and exaggerated melodrama there was some thinly veiled social satire at work here but nothing too heavy to take away from the lightness of the show. The staging of the show was brilliantly done in a slightly homemade yet elaborate fashion. We saw some wonderfully oversized props, a stoic feathered friend and a feat of stage engineering to wrap up a seemingly minor plot point. We were fully immersed in this strange yet familiar world from the get go.

The line up of Illegitimate Children (ie. Guest performers) changes every night. On the night I attended the ‘Children’ were Stuart Daulman, Gillian Cosgriff and Oliver Clark. If there was one niggling shortfall it was that these guests weren’t fully integrated into the universe created by the core cast. They made a passing reference to being Andy’s offspring but essentially just did their usual act. This was probably the only brief given to them about being on this variety show but an act tailored to the overall show would have been a nice touch.

As a variety show this is a great hour of entertainment. Add in these crazy characters and their story arc and this show is elevated to a must see event.

Andy & Nellie’s Secret Second Family Variety Show is on at The Tuxedo Cat at 7:15pm until September 28.

http://www.melbournefringe.com.au/fringe-festival/show/andy-nellie-s-secret-second-family-variety-show/

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