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


Anthony Jeannot is Unaccept-a-bubble


Bart Freebairn: Ultra Power Lord


Clem Bastow – Escape From LA


Damian Callinan – The Lost WW1 Diary of Private Paddy Callinan


Dr Brown – Befrdfgth


Dylan Cole – The Moon in Me


Fancy Boy Variety Show


Faulty Towers – The Dining Experience


Geraldine Hickey – Listen Out For The Castanets


I Love Green Guide Letters Live


Justin Kennedy – Bucket’s List


Late Night Letters and Numbers


Lee Naimo – Finding Lee


Lisa-Skye’s Lovely Tea Party


The Little Dum Dum Club Live


Luke McGregor – I Worry That I Worry Too Much


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


Political Asylum – Late Night Riot


Sam Rankin – Wake Up, Sheeple! (2.0)


The Sexy Detectives – Mono Logs


The Sound of Nazis


The Umbilical Brothers – KiDSHoW – Not Suitable for Children


Stuart Daulman is an Absolute Credit


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


Gary Portenza: Apologies in Advance


Set List


Watson – Who’s Afraid of the Dark


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


Zoe Coombs Marr – Dave



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


5 Good reasons to see Bart Freebairn – Double Happiness

Reason 1 

Bart has unearthed serveral ancient secrets of time travel and clothing alteration. Seeing his show will give you hints as to what they are and were he has hidden them ( They are in a secret pocket of his fancy time travel pants!)

Reason 2

Barack Obama regularly listens to Bart and follows his advice. Now I know what you are thinking. Obama has made a mess Bart is no good at advice. Before you storm off consider that Bart’s advice has stopped heaps of wars and disasters and bad stuff all over the place from happening. He only weighs in on the serious business. Not that silly everyday stuff. COME TO HIS SHOW AND LISTEN TO HIS ADVICE! IT MIGHT SAVE YOUR LIFE AND THE WHOLE WORLD

Reason 3 

The show is called Double Happiness for a reason. It is a great feeling and you deserve to experience it.

Reason 4 

If would like to learn ways to enjoy icecream more. There are a handful of great tips and angles in which you can increase and lengthen your pleasure. That is what all those LAST LONGER billboards are about. Bart’s show and Icecream. What?! You thought it was about sex? You sick fuck.

Reason 5

Bart is a great comedian who will make you laugh for an hour.

Bart Freebairn – Double Happiness is on at the Imperial Hotel


We ♥ Comedy

By Noel Kelso

The Imperial Hotel is a hub for Melbourne comedians throughout the year and one of the regular comedy nights is We ♥ Comedy. Compered by the witty and acerbic Victoria Healy this is a showcase of the finest talents in Melbourne stand-up, improve and sketch, and provides laughs to the people of the city year-round.

Comics such as Celia Pacquola and Simon Keck have performed there in the past along with sketch duo Girls Uninterrupted and king of improv Jimmy James Eaton. The Melbourne International Comedy Festival allows the room to showcase a diverse range of acts which may not otherwise be available to them at other times of the year. Thus it was that last night the line-up consisted of improv from Rebecca de Unamuno, stand-up from Bart Freebairn and sketch comedy from The Lords Of Luxury.

De Unamuno began her set with some very funny gags related to dating and how she believes that some people just stay in relationships for far too long before interacting with the audience to discover how they have fared in love. Latching onto one couple in the front row she asks them a series of questions about their relationship and how they see one another before launching into an improvised and hilarious Shakespearean sketch based around the information she has just been given. This is a skilled improvisational comedian able to adapt to her situation and still bring forth strong laughs from the audience.

Second on that night’s bill was comic Bart Freebairn whose delightfully whimsical delivery style is easy to engage with as he talks about wanting to be a dinosaur when he was a child, dreams, scallops and universal knowledge. The very fact that he can say any of this and not leave the audience confused, but laughing loudly is testament to his comic timing and delivery.

The last act on the bill were Lords Of Luxury whose sketch comedy was hilarious and strange with ad libs from various team members added an element of anarchy to the proceedings. Their sketches about one of the members being dumped by his girlfriend and the predicament faced by a Private Investigator held captive by the Mob were inventive and funny and kept the audience laughing throughout. There was a sequence involving a water pistol which dragged on for far too long, yet just became funnier and funnier with each passing second. These are comics who know how to play a room and can milk every last line for maximum laughter.

As a host, Healy is a total pro, warming her audience up for the acts with her charm and delivering laughs with practised ease.

We ♥ Comedy is on at the Imperial Hotel until April 8

The Late Night Board Game Slumber Party

By Lisa Clark

Mike Brown has created a great little digestif to your comedy evening with The Late Night Board Game Slumber Party. The Board game thing is a bit of a misnomer, there is no actual board, it’s basically comedians playing several party games late at night for your entertainment as well as their own.

Neil Sinclair wearing his pyjamas and comedy Tassie Devil slippers is our genial host and does a great job keeping things ticking and the comedians in check if they start getting out of hand. Guest comedians competing in the games the night we were there were Bart Freebairn, Tommy Dassalo and Callaghan. Although the audience is not broken into teams as such, each one comedian has a corresponding audience member who will win a prize if they win which raises the stakes a little and gives them someone barracking for them. Rules are pretty flexible, Neil gives and takes points, often on a whim, or for laughs and they are displayed on a screen for all to see.

The first game is ‘Crappy Birthday’ it seems a bit complicated in explanation but all becomes quickly clear as it is played. It’s a card game where the objects written on the cards such as ‘A bus trip’, ‘ A pet eagle’ or ‘comedy lessons’ are birthday presents awarded to fellow team members anonymously, who then award points for the best and worst picks. The comments and picks were very funny and had Tommy Dassalo shouting ‘This is the Worst Birthday Ever!’ at one point.

‘Who’z Dat?’ was a live version of ‘Guess Who’. Unbeknownst to the guests an audience member had their photo taken when we arrived and that photo is flashed on the screen behind them so all the audience can see who they are guessing. The audience stands and they take turns asking questions like ‘Is the person female?’ and they get their answer when all the men sit down, ’til everyone is sitting apart from the one in the photo. It was simple audience participation and great fun for everyone.

My favourite game of the night was a live version of ‘Jenga’ called ‘Midnight Stax’ with a great big tower of cardboard box sticks to stack. There were other games and there might even be different games on different nights. There will definitely be different guests each night and of course part of the fun will depend on their late night energy and willingness to put as much fun in as possible. We were lucky and had a team of performers who did just that.

I saw this show at Melbourne Fringe Festival last year but Mike has put a lot of work into making it much better and slicker. The only thing I’d add is more things on the screen such as graphics, pictures of the games being played or showing the cards on the screen (but I might be asking too much technologically) and more music cues. Still the dagginess is part of the fun and fun it was. If you are a gamer, there are prizes of games to be won and the venue is at Games Laboratory which is open for game playing (and buying) before and after the show. There are also snacks for sale and that’s always a good thing.

The Late Night Board Game Slumber Party is on at the Games Laboratory until April 12

5 Good Reasons to see Bart Freebairn, Wrongtown and Jared Jekyll

5 Good Reasons to see Bart Freebairn: The Age of Wonder

1. We were all kids once and our lives were full of interesting wonderful things. It could be fun to touch on that time once again.

2. Bart has a nice haircut and is rather handsome

3 Bart has consistently gotten great newspaper reviews and private messages from the queen. Find out his secrets.

4 This show has just come from a sold out season in Brisbane. There were no spaces left!

5 You could learn how to lucid dream.

Bart Freebairn is at the Spleen Bar


5 Good Reasons to see Wrongtown:Population You!

1. It’s where you belong

2. There’s no place like home

3. After you’ve laughed your tits off, you can buy a pair of Boob-ease

4. In Wrongtown we celebrate all things

5. “When you’re alone and life is making you lonely, you can always go, Wrongtown

Wrongtown is on at The Tuxedo Cat


5 Good Reasons to see Jared Jekyll – Loony Bin

1. Shenanigans

2. Beatboxing equipped with Loop Pedal action

3. A Magic Trick that features a lot of rude words

4. A talking Parrot

5. I like counting

Jared is performing at Word Warehouse