Virtually Funny… sorry, “The Melbourne International Very Serious Short Film Festival” provided plenty of laughs even though the sign at the venue stated that a serious art event lay beyond its doors. You knew you were in for a good time when the house music consisted of kitchy covers of the classic tune “Popcorn”.
First up was a bit of French New Wave by Marcel Lucont with plenty of his trademark arrogance and disdane which was being translated into Aussie for the audince’s benefit. When Marcel’s displeasure extended beyond the screen, you knew we were in for something special.
Next was Bec Hill performing her crowd pleasing flip chart illustrations of the lyrics to Piaf’s Je Ne Regrette Rien. This riotious routine started out normally but soon desended into some third diamension lunancy that added a whole new flavour to the piece.
Natalie Palamides presented an attempt at “philosophical musing” involving a herculean task of housework. This was played wonderfully straight so that when elements of the film invaded the audience it was a joy to behold.
Michelle Brasier and Josh Glanc provided some culture with a performance of Romeo & Juliet: Act 5, Scene 3. Hammy overacting and character breaking had us in stitches while lines and stage directions were changed on the fly with riotous results.
“Cinema Staff” Shari and Garry filled in for some “technical glitches” with a spot of karaoke but were soon interrupted by some unsavory foreigners (played by Viggo Venn and Julia Masli onscreen with in the flesh menace provided by David Tieck). We were treated to some cartoon violence, a strange rap performance and wacky love triangle (or was it a pentangle?).
Virtually Funny had shades of “The Show That Goes Wrong” with the in person team trying to hold things together as film and reality broke down. Our host (played by Janet A McLeod) was the arty farty type trying to maintain a veneer of high brow culture in the face of the chaos. The loveable dogsbody characters played by Tieck and Sharnema Nougar (of Two Little Dickheads fame), and Garry Starr offered plenty of help but fell hilariously short. The physical cast were run off their feet reacting to every breaking of the the fourth wall (or is it screen demolition?). Some of the reaction to cues were a little clunky but they pulled through on charm.
A brilliantly ambitious and inventive merger of film and live action, this show employed plenty of visual trickery to bring the filmic action into our laps. Congrats to the local team and the filmmakers for pulling off a hilarious tour de force.
Scotland’s capital city is bursting at the seams with talented artists as the Edinburgh Festival Fringe begins this week. As is usual many Australian acts are heading up to “sunny” Edinburgh to show the world what they’ve got. If you’re in town, be sure to check out some of these fabulous funny folk listed below.
We’ve compiled a list of all the acts we could find, along with links to the reviews of those shows that our Squirrel writers have seen at previous festivals. As usual we give the disclaimer that Festival shows are ever evolving beasts so the show that we saw could be rather different to current iteration.
If we’ve missed anyone, feel free to drop us a line (or contact us on social media)…
One word: wow. I had to watch a YouTube video of an interview to put to rest my suspicions that Glanc was an utter weirdo. It turns out he is actually capable of normal behaviour. In the interview I watched, you wouldn’t have batted an eyelid at his responses to his interviewer. They were modest, well-articulated, measured. Because, in his show, his conduct his quite out of this world; more bizarre and questionable, arguably, than Barry Humphrey’s famous turn as Dame Edna. Playing a version of himself, Glanc sings (which he isn’t half bad at), dances, and urinates – with a fake penis(es) – through the show, which focuses on his, let’s say, interesting relationship with his mother.
Glanc has been at this for a few years now, and his bizarro approach to comedy hasn’t dimmed. You have to give it to him – it definitely takes a lot of self-assurance to pull off something as audacious as what he does with Glance You For Having Me. His work isn’t going to be up everyone’s alley, but for those wanting to experience something beyond the standard stand-up routine, Glanc might just be what the doctor ordered.
Glanc doesn’t just thrive off funny, well-thought out lines, but also the wicked tension his awkward, unflinching brand of comedy elicits. Many of the laughs he gets are instantaneous; others land once the unsettling nature of the moment is fully appreciated.
The show starts off with a bang, followed thereafter by a steady flow of material, wrapped up by a truly disconcerting yet hilarious ending. I’m not entirely sure, even now, if what I saw was part of the show. If it wasn’t, then it shows Glanc’s kinetic ability for adaptation. If it was, then he’s done a great job of being so outrageous that everyone left stunned, and unsure, of what’d they’d just seen.
It’s not long now until the world’s largest fringe arts festival begins in warmer climes and again a massive contingent of Australians and expats are headed to The Edinburgh Festival Fringe. Many have traveled the Australian festival circuit and have been whipped into shape for international audiences. Some have been previously reviewed by Squirrel but remember they will have been further polished and may have been revised and reworked.
Last year Australian, Hannah Gadsby won Best Comedy at the Fringe, she’s had to cancel her Edinburgh Fringe run this year but there’s a lot more amazing comedy talent coming up from down under. If you are travelling anywhere near Edinburgh this August, have a look at the following list of shows and consider going to see an Australian act.
Josh Glanc is a very talented clown and yes, he is Gaulier trained, so by now you know what to expect, excellent character work, a beautifully constructed festival show, mime, laughs, the shedding of clothing, bags of audience participation and a barely comprehensible show title. So if you love this sort of thing, and clearly heaps of people do, Josh is very good at it and you should go along.
Karma Karma Karma Karma Karma Chamedian is a clowny sketch show with some tremendous set pieces including; an ‘homage’ to the Red Hot Chilli Peppers, Breakfast Television and miming to some Wil Anderson stand up which was audacious and hopefully approved of by Wil. The running gags of an American Football Line backer and a baby monitor don’t work as well, with the baby monitor gags not working and going nowhere. The highlight, was a skit I’d seen in Edinburgh that got me along to see this show and it was a shrewd and extremely silly examination of the pop dance band Acqua. Who knew they had so many (formulaic) hits?
Josh opens his show by coaxing a group of men on stage to play out their rock and roll fantasies in an Air-Guitar rock band and they do have a lot of fun playing Josh’s backup band. In doing so Josh sets up his style of show, it’s going to be very full on and silly, though he doesn’t take anyone against their will and doesn’t push them too far. Comedians like Josh really rely on the kindness of strangers and the willingness of audience members to make their show a success, he goes back to these men time and time again throughout the show. Josh is very charming and luckily pretty harmless, but I’m always amazed at how trusting and compliant audience members are with comedians. Anyone taking part should be warned though, that they have to be prepared to have sweat dripped on them because Josh is fairly scantily clad throughout most of the physically demanding show. The sweat and the hair on his body are a little overwhelming and occasionally take my attention away from Josh’s comedy antics as I watch his elbow dripping like a tap onto someone’s foot in the front row.
The over arcing narrative is a subtle autobiographical theme as Josh develops his stage persona before us. Trying out straight standup (well miming to Wil Anderson’s standup) but not being able to fit in and gradually removing his clothes til he’s almost (not completely thank god) naked and finally re-dressing in the black leotard and putting on his mime makeup where he can relax and be himself. Others have done this sort of thing, though Josh doesn’t start in a lawyer’s business suit, he implements it skillfully and despite the rather schmaltzy ending it is an excellent way to pull his sketches together.
It must have been extremely difficult to give up a future as a lawyer for that of a clown. He has put all that hard work and energy into becoming a comedian and it’s paid off.
Josh Glanc: Karma Karma Karma Karma Karma Chamedian is on at The Victoria Hotel
For tickets and information, go to the Festival website:
1. I wear a full-body muscle suit during the entire show.
2. I sweat so much in the suit that during a performance in Adelaide I passed out from dehydration. The paramedics were called and one of them said that my heart rate was so high it was as if I’d just ran a “comedy marathon”. I chuckled politely. He then told me that he’s thinking of getting into stand-up. I told him I don’t really do stand-up. He told me that was the best form of comedy and I wouldn’t have passed out if I was just doing stand-up. I told him that with observations like that he should probably be a prop comic.
3. The show is full of 90s techno dance tracks, but unfortunately ‘Faded’ by Zhu and ‘Better off Alone’ by Alice Deejay didn’t make the cut. If you find a good place for them to feature in the show let’s talk.
4. Its on at ACMI which is an acronym for the Australian Centre for the Moving Image. You probably knew that, but a lot of people think the ‘C’ stands for cinema, but when you ask them to tell you the phrase making up the acronym using the word ‘cinema’ they really struggle.
5. There’s singing, but not a lot of singing, one song really, but if you enjoy shows with singing, like cabaret shows, then you’ll probably really like it. But I’m sure you’ll also like it even if you don’t enjoy cabaret shows, because its not a cabaret show, its just got one song, but there’s also quite a bit dancing and lots of references to musical theatre, and confetti, but it’s not a cabaret show, i’d say its just got some cabaret ‘elements’ like music, singing, dancing, confetti, and personal story telling but it’s not a cabaret show.