The Mighty Little Puppet Show

By Lisa Clark David & Mighty Little Puppets

Impro with a difference, not only do the performers have to create characters and scenarios for themselves but they are also creating characters for puppets as they go and this is an impressive and silly show for all impro and puppet fans.

The host for the show David S Innes does a great job welcoming punters, keeping an eye on proceedings and knowing when to stop skits. The performer/ puppeteers are all brilliant people, including; Rob Lloyd more famous for his own geek based shows like last year’s sublime The Heart Awakens and Petra Elliot from Night Terrace (who’s puppetry skills dazzled in The Magical Oak Tree & Who Killed John Bearington III). Matt Hadgraft does a fine job with a live musical accompaniment on the electric piano.

The faceless puppets are referred to as The Ritas and if you know the Muppets you understand that different eyes noses etc can be attached like velcro to create different characters. The large boards on stage display a dazzling myriad of eyes, noses and mouths for the puppeteers to choose from and are tantalising to look at while waiting for the show to start. Hmmm, not many beards so not many hipster possibilities. Lots of moustaches, an eye patch, a nose with whiskers….

One of the highlights of the show was where the audience member got to stick a face on the puppet from the smaller more portable Face Buffet board. I would have enjoyed more being made of just mucking about with the faces and characters for a bit without the need for scenes up front, but maybe that’s just the Muppet tragic me. The scenes helped along by audience suggestions were great though, including Zeus having a mental breakdown and then getting to meet Bigfoot on breakfast television.

The strongest part of the show was the long form story, in this case it was a Western and the players get to play with the genre, with a little help from the audience as always, but also from guest improviser Jason Geary who gets to play off the puppets (not wearing enough silly moustaches for my liking) and lead the way. As a show with so many possibilities at it’s fingertips I appreciated the structure in place and choices that were made by the performers beforehand and I’m sure Jason did too. It’s always good to have something to hang on to when a show can go anywhere. Jason is a legend at comedy impro though, and did a fabulous job traversing the ridges and ravines of making stuff up on the spot.

This is a really kooky little experiment hybrid of a show and another extraordinary way to find laughs at the Melbourne Comedy Festival.

The Mighty Little Puppet Show is on at The Upstairs Lounge @ Little Sista until April 3

http://www.comedyfestival.com.au/2016/season/shows/the-mighty-little-puppet-show

Jason Geary & Jimmy James Eaton : Sketch-ageddon

By Elyce Phillips

There’s aliens, orphans and even a little magic – Sketch-ageddon is an action-packed hour of doom and sketch comedy. Jason Geary and Jimmy James Eaton have teamed up once again, following the success of last year’s Sketchual Healing, and if their show’s opening music is anything to go by, they still have a large quantity of sketch-related puns in supply.

Eaton and Geary have a wonderful comedic relationship and are both well-practiced at playing a wide variety of characters. The sketches are really well-balanced. There are insanely high-energy moments, like Geary’s bursts of questionable magic. There are comparatively quiet moments of domestic ridiculousness, where we witness the relationship between an alien overlord and his mother. A short mimed tale about two brothers growing up was surprisingly touching. All of the sketches flow beautifully thanks to the story of destruction weaved throughout.

Eaton and Geary accomplish a lot with minimal fuss. Their use of props is sparse, setting up most of their scenes with nothing more than a bit of music. This keeps the show fast-paced and very physical. The whole thing is super slick. Ben Russell has done a great job as director, helping to create a show that feels incredibly natural, but is tightly composed.

The seemingly endless energy of Eaton and Geary is really impressive, especially considering that both of these guys have multiple shows this year – Festival legend has it that Eaton is in seven different shows, which deserves some sort of trophy or finely-laminated certificate if it’s true. They both get a chance to show-off the full gamut of their talents. There’s singing, dancing and impressions. Geary’s Christopher Walken is on-point, and Eaton’s John Travolta is hilarious, baffling and weirdly time-specific.

The only quibbles on the night were venue-related, rather than any fault with the performance itself. The show got started 10 minutes late, meaning there was a trickle of audience members scrambling to get out towards the end, presumably to make it to their next act. It was an unwelcome distraction from an otherwise brilliant finale. Hopefully this was due to an off night and isn’t indicative of the run in general – but maybe leave some room between shows, just in case.

Sketch-ageddon is an epic tale of death and destruction, told in bite-sized nuggets of hilarity. Eaton and Geary are a perfect comedy pairing and not something to be missed.

Sketch-ageddon is on at the Imperial Hotel until April 20
http://www.comedyfestival.com.au/2014/season/shows/sketch-ageddon-jason-geary-jimmy-james-eaton

5 Good Reasons to see a show at The Imperial during MICF

We love supporting smaller independent venues away from The Town Hall during the Melbourne International Comedy Festival, ’cause lets face it, everyone knows about that venue – they really don’t need any of our help. We were sad to say goodbye to the little bar Rue Rabelons as a venue in Melbourne, but we’re happy to announce a new venue for the festival up the posh end of town, opposite the Government House – The Imperial Hotel. The comedy there is being curated by Angela Thompson and Micah D Higbed. It will have 2 rooms running through the festival with a variety of young and up and coming performers giving it a great vibe. They had their own mini Gala on Thursday night where host Jimmy James Eaton and performers Tom Ward, Victoria Healy and Neil Sinclair (above) gave us a great taste of what’s to come. So with fourteen shows to choose from, a bar and some yummy pub food deals on offer, don’t forget to hop on a tram and pop up to The Imperial during the festival this year.

5 Good Reasons to see a show at The Imperial during MICF

1) There are 14 great shows on in the one venue!

1. Andy Matthews & Tony Besselink – Atchieve Nothing
2. Balderdash (Tim Clark & Liam Ryan)
3. Dave Fairclough – In Love
4. Elliot Cyngler is Too Small to Function
5. Jason Geary & Jimmy James Eaton – Sketch-ual Healing
6. Jonathan Schuster’s Chrysalis
7. Micah D Higbed – Noteworthy
8. Neil Sinclair – Phoney
9. Sam Peterson, Natalie Harris & Nick Quon – 3 Little Gigs
10. Sullivan & Bok
11. The Time Machine
12. These Kids Are Good
13. Victoria Healy’s Anatomy
14. Xavier Toby – White Trash

2) The shows are all cheap. Most are $15 full price. Some are even cheaper. Also, cheap student tickets on the door.

3) Independently produced! We’ve even kitted the place out ourselves. BYO stage? Yes siree.

4) The Imperial has great food, and they are doing even more special specials during MICF. They also have a top notch drinks selection.

5) All the shows are great. We don’t have any duds, hidden away in a smaller font. They are ALL THE SAME FONT SIZE!

Check out facebook.com/ImpyComedy for updates on the shows, pics, giveaways and competitions. We’re also on @ImpyComedy if you’re in to that kind of thing.

The Imperial Hotel is at 2 – 8 Bourke St Melbourne on the corner of Spring St.

See the Melbourne International Comedy Festival Guide and website for show details

http://www.comedyfestival.com.au