Josh Earl’s Festival condenses spending a day at a music festival into an hour using songs, sketches and even interpretive dance. It is at times nostalgic, derisive, kooky and hilarious. All that’s missing is the dirt/mud, sweat and Tinnitus.
Josh Earl and Daniel Tobias (and a mystery guest) do a brilliant job in lampooning all aspects of the music festival experience. From the quirks of the eccentric performers (an indecipherable Dylan-esque song was especially brilliant) to the annoying punters you encounter (I still don’t understand the recent phenomenon of dudes wearing flag capes!) to the frustrating logistics of a large event, all of their targets are hit perfectly.
Structured as a series of vignettes, Earl navigates the site while keeping in contact with his friends by phone. Each call provides a cue for an amusing song involving an act on one of the festival stages. A number of musical genres are sent up including young indie bands in over their heads, anonymous DJs, poorly treated female acts and poe-faced serious artists. All the songs are distinctive Josh Earl songs, even when Tobias is singing, but don’t rely so heavily on the densely spoken lyrics Earl is known for. These tunes aren’t parodies of specific songs instead they make fun of the situations the characters find themselves in using an appropriate musical style and plenty of witty ideas.
Earl plays the downtrodden festival punter perfectly with his beautifully escalating exchanges with characters presented in voiceover. Tobias is always up for dressing up, so he dons many wacky outfits to portray a number of larger than life creations. Josh Earl’s Festival is a brilliant showcase for their years of musical comedy experience and radiant talent.
The audience on this night unfortunately lacked energy for the extravaganza that Josh and Daniel have created. These punters paid attention and laughed at the right places but didn’t really liven up until some Flaming Lips styled audience interaction at the end. This theatrical production put some distance between the characters and the audience even though we could relate to the situations. This was amplified by the polite seated theatre set up, the lack of excessive volume and a noticeably older crowd (possibly some of Josh’s ABC fans).
This is a fun and hilarious piece of theatre about a collective experience which many are nostalgic for or still look forward to every summer, it deserves a big crowd of music comedy fans ready to have a ball. This is one festival within a festival you should attend.
The 2017 Melbourne International Comedy Festival is back bigger than ever and the Squirrels are here to help you chose which shows to spend your money and time on. There are shows that we have already seen and also some intriguing shows that have piqued our interest.
A number of MICF shows have run prior to the festival and we have already reviewed some of these. We’ll give the usual disclaimer that Festival shows are ever evolving beasts, so the show’s we have covered may have undergone changes (hopefully for the better!) since we saw them.
This is the first ever live version of Andy Zaltzman’s podcast. It promises live guests, people on screens, freshly-hewn satire, lies, puns and high-grade bullshit. Sounds like tonnes of fun. (You can see his own standup show too, sold separately)
The last time Daniel performed here in 2015 it was with his astonishing, gorgeous, experimental play Polyphony. It involved 20 pre-recorded characters (played by actors and comedians) on MP3players being played by audience members. I was lucky enough to see it towards the end of the run, on a night when it all ran beautifully and it blew my mind. If audience participation was the comedy trend, Daniel fashioned it into couture art. We’ve missed out on a lot of his finished shows in Melbourne over the past ten years but he’s making up for it by giving us Three types of Kitson, including a filmed show we never got to see.
1.Stories For The Starlit Sky with Gavin Osbourne
Actually 3 plays in one (of his 3 shows). It will be long, why not bring a packed lunch? 3 of his delightful heartwarming and funny stories from Daniel with Gavin on the Guitar.
2.Not Yet But Soon – A Work in Progress Stand up Show.
Well its another work in Progress, but having done it in Sydney before Melbourne it should be fairly well formed. An hour and a half, but knowing Daniel probably longer. Its mostly on late too, 10 pm so have a little nap during the day.
Fairfax Studio, Arts Centre Melbourne – March 30th to April 16th(Various dates and times)- https://goo.gl/bry3Tv
3.It’s Always Right Now Until It’s Later – On Film
A 7 year old show we never got to see in Australia, but here it is preserved forever on film and Daniel will be there to introduce it.
A comedy night for charity produced by our own Erin Davidson and we can promise you she has organised a cracker of a lineup. Names she cannot name, but some of the top names in Australian comedy and this may be the only place during the festival you get to see some of them. Also you get to laugh for a good cause.
Josh has hooked up with Daniel from Die Roten Punkte and they promise famous guest stars in this mini comedy music festival. I’ve had a bit of a taste of this one and it has got my mouth watering for more.
Michael Williams: Escape from a 90s Educational CD-ROM!
One of the recipients of this year’s Moosehead Grants, you can always be rely upon Williams to present an inventive and hilarious show. Last year he was one of our favourites, with the added Moosehead creative seal of approval, this is sure to be a doozy!
Hero Complex was the Talk of Melbourne Fringe and the talk was: “Have you Seen it? You HAVE TO SEE IT!!!” We were so glad we did. It won Best Comedy Show at Melbourne Fringe 2016 and has just won the first Weekly Award for comedy at Adelaide Fringe 2017. It is side achingly hilarious, and face hurtingly joyous. It’s better to go in knowing as little as possible; yes it is about Sammy J’s love for The Phantom but also about much, much more.
Five audience members – in one caravan – with three spiteful old grannies – for 15 minutes. These terrifying characters by Thomas Jaspers, Kyle Minall and Scott Brennan will be more so in such close quarters and sure to be hilarious.
After scaring the stuffing out of laughing audiences at the Old Melbourne Gaol during the 2015 Melbourne Fringe, Watson (Adam McKenzie, Liam Ryan and Tegan Higginbotham) return with a show of frights and laughs. Another Moosehead recipent so expectations are high.