David Massingham – Sketch Me Like One of Your French Girls

By Colin Flaherty

After being part of The Sexy Detectives (Melbourne Fringe 2014 and MICF 2015), David Massingham has gone solo in this one hander sketch show Sketch Me Like One of Your French Girls. He sets the tone with some requisite French accordion music and uses the themes of art and things of a French persuasion in some sketches. Things branch out into other fields, many with comically violent intent, including bizarre surgical practices, a small town marketing scheme, multiple requests for vengeance and many aborted Alcoholics Anonymous meetings.

All the characters he introduces us to are played as broad as possible for maximum wackiness. He is surely a student of the wild eyed looney school of acting and it works a treat. A script of bad puns, overt melodrama and witty wordplay has the audience constantly giggling if not in hysterics.

Massingham makes brilliant use of a flip book on an easel to set scenes, interact with his worlds and manipulate the audience. This combined with lighting changes, a bit of costuming, music and voice overs bring the scenarios to life beautifully.

A large majority of the sketches involve some audience interaction that requires them to leave their seat and join him on or near the stage, some on multiple occasions. While the sketches are tightly scripted, he leaves some wiggle room to react to punters actions and responses so that he can show off his impro talents developed with The Big Hoo Haa. There is nothing socially threatening, embarassing or complicated in these parts, he just wants you to join him in creating these scenarios. You can refuse Massingham’s invitations to join and he will (eventually) leave you be but he hasn’t as yet developed many amusing outs for those who won’t (or are unable to) play with him. I’m sure he will be able to read the punters better as the season progresses and adapt accordingly.

Massingham has created an inventive sketch experience that delights and has the power to regularly have you falling about with laughter. If you don’t mind taking part in his crazy universe rather than passively observing it, you will have a wonderful time.

Sketch Me Like One of Your French Girls is on at Tasma Terrace until April 8

5 Good Reasons to See Sketch Me Like One of Your French Girls by David Massingham

1. It’s the FIRST solo sketch comedy show from a guy who knows sketch comedy.

Debut shows are tricky propositions, eh? You want to support new artists, sure, but damned if you want to see a crap show. Dave’s done a bunch of sketch comedy show stuff previously with The Sexy Detectives and they got good reviews, so you can see Sketch Me Like One of Your French Girls knowing that if you hate it it’s only because that’s just, like, your opinion, man. This very website what you’re reading right now called The Sexy Detectives, “experimental and non-standard, utterly entertaining, and just really stupidly funny”, which is pretty much 95% compliments.

What we’re trying to say is, Dave’s relatively certain he knows which end of the sketch comedy stick makes the funnies go bang.

2. Each show will see a SECOND Comedy Fest artist appearing in a special guest spot.

It’s a short and super sneaky appearance from a different comedian each night, all in the aid of Maximum Comedy. Your show could have an award-nominated (or -winning!) comedian, or it could have an artist too-damn-cool for those awards but that the other performers all know is great. Hope you don’t turn up on the night Dave organised that one terrible comedian to turn up.

3. Sketch Me features not one, not two, but THREE jokes about famous visual artists.

Yeah, we know what you like.

This is just how Dave rolls. He’s always tossing out art history bon mots over a bottle of ‘59 Grange with chums.

Real talk: Sketch Me Like One of Your French Girls is your one stop shop for gags about famed Dutch painter and primary colour enthusiast Piet Mondrian. If fact, this is really bloody likely to be the only show in this year’s Melbourne International Comedy Festival with Mondrian-related material, because all those other shows JUST AREN’T GAME ENOUGH for geometric shape-based comedy.

If Mondrian’s not your guy, we feel. That’s when the expertly-timed Jackson Pollock Blue Poles joke T-bones you, like a sucker punch to the funny bone. It’s about time someone took that Pollock joker down a peg after what he did to the socialist realism movement, amiright?

The third joke is a cheap swipe at Ken Done.

4. You can try before you buy (but please, definitely do buy) by checking out the FOUR video sketches promoting Sketch Me.

Sketch comedy! It comes in both live and not-live formats. To enjoy a little bit of the latter before you check out the former with Sketch Me, head over to the David Massingham Comedy page on Facebook to get a look-see at some great online content. Sure, there’s only one sketch up at time of writing, but the other three can’t be far off. Impress all your friends by predicting that they’ll be uploaded in week-and-a-half to two week increments.

5. We’ve made a mistake and there’s nothing in this show related to the number FIVE.

Sorry, this top five list has let you down most terribly. We only hope this doesn’t reflect poorly on Sketch Me Like One of Your French Girls, which is a very good show indeed and contains much less material about 20th century art than this write-up would suggest.

Sketch Me Like One of Your French Girls is on at Tasma Terrace March 28 – April 8


The Sexy Detectives – Mono Logs

By Sofia Monkiewicz  

 The Sexy Detectives are a Brisbane comedy sketch group who certainly know how to deliver a successful skit. Their Melbourne Fringe Festival debut Mono Logs is made up of a variety of vignettes, short character interactions, speeches and one-liners, most of which are cleverly written and extremely funny. This type of comedic performance relies on decent material to begin with, and luckily these Sexy Detectives have an abundance of the stuff.

David Massingham and Michael Griffin are natural entertainers; they swap between characters and accents with ease, and their well-timed jokes hit the mark every time. Massingham comes across as the more experienced of the two. He is confident and charismatic, and his characters are all very strong. From the pastor not-so-subtly attempting to stop a couple from getting wed, to a father making plans for which of his children will inherit his fortune, and to a pun-loving school principal, Massingham has the more memorable characters and the funnier skits. Griffin does have some hilarious one-liners though, and his quieter onstage personality combined with Massingham’s expressive antics is a winning combination.

Despite the fact that on this particular night the audience was quite small, it did not prevent the Sexy Detectives from giving it their absolute all; their professionalism and energy is commendable. One particular sound effect-based act they performed was simply hysterical, and an intentionally long-winded sketch about the competencies of an IT help desk was not only highly amusing, but wonderfully witty as well.

In terms of the technical aspect of the show, several of the scene transitions were slightly clunky and there were a couple of messy lighting changes, but overall nothing overly drastic. Perhaps some music between several of the longer scene changes would help to make them a little smoother.

The Melbourne Fringe Festival is designed for shows like Mono Logs. It is an opportunity to showcase something different to the average comedy stand-up routine, and this sketch performance is exactly that: experimental and non-standard, utterly entertaining, and just really stupidly funny.

The Sexy Detectives – Mono Logs is on at Club Voltaire until October 5