MELBOURNE FRINGE FESTIVAL 2013

By Lisa Clark

Spring has sprung, Melbourne is sparkling, our eyes are itchy and that means it’s time to get ready for the Melbourne Fringe Festival. Melbourne Fringe is an open-access, multi-arts Festival, that actively encourages diversity and is thus a great space for performers to experiment with new and unconventional ideas. The Festival encompasses theatre, music, circus, magic, furniture design, art and craft and more, but here at Squirrel Comedy we are nuts about comedy and thus we will be covering the comedy side of things which is pretty big. Some comedians use Fringe to reprise a successful Melbourne International Comedy Festival show (often new and improved versions) and others to give a new show a run leading up to next year’s MICF. There are wacky one off shows that can only be seen at Fringe and you never know when you’ll make a delightful surprising new discovery, as we did with Slutmonster and Friends last year. So it’s always worth going out of your comfort zone to try something new. Hey that is why Fringe exists!

There is so much comedy to choose from and it is our job to give you a hand as you make your way through the Fringe programme. Below are links to all the shows we’ve previously reviewed, many of which will have been tweaked and improved since their last outing and that’s followed by some recommendations for shows we’ve seen and/or are excited by. As usual we’ll be publishing ‘5 Good Reasons to see…’ leading up to the the festival and reviewing shows throughout.

Shows at Melbourne Fringe that Have Been Previously Reviewed by Squirrel Comedy.

Barry Morgan: Organ Is Not a Dirty Word
Squirrel Review: http://www.squirrelcomedy.com/?p=3986
Barry Morgan is playing his magnificent organ at the Lithuanian Club at 7:30pm
http://www.melbournefringe.com.au/fringe-festival/show/barry-morgan-organ-is-not-a-dirty-word/

Lessons With Luis Famoucity!
Squirrel Review :  http://www.squirrelcomedy.com/?p=3372
Famoucity is playing at The Butterfly Club at 7pm
http://www.melbournefringe.com.au/fringe-festival/show/lessons-with-luis-famoucity/

Luke McGregor – My Soulmate is Out of My League  [Winner of The Best Newcomer at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival]
Squirrel Review :  http://www.squirrelcomedy.com/?p=3389
It’s playing at The Loft, Lithuanian Club at 9.15pm
http://www.melbournefringe.com.au/fringe-festival/show/luke-mc-gregor-my-soul-mate-is-out-of-my-league/

Khalad Khalafalla – Devious
Squirrel Review :  http://www.squirrelcomedy.com/?p=3810
Devious is Playing Upstairs at Errol’s at 10.30pm
http://www.melbournefringe.com.au/fringe-festival/show/khaled-kalafalla-encore/

Michael Burke in Cubehead
Squirrel Review : http://www.squirrelcomedy.com/?p=4134
Cubehead is playing at The Tuxedo Cat – The Jackle at 7.00pm
http://www.melbournefringe.com.au/fringe-festival/show/michael-burke-in-cubehead/

Nob Happy Sock – Simon Keck [Winner of The Golden Gibbo at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival]
Squirrel Review: http://www.squirrelcomedy.com/?p=3550
It’s on at Son of Loft, Lithuanian Club at 6.30pm
http://www.melbournefringe.com.au/fringe-festival/show/nob-happy-sock/

Political Asylum
Squirrel Review: http://www.squirrelcomedy.com/?p=3785
Political Asylum is on at the Festival Club (North Melbourne Town Hall) on 1/10 at 9:30pm
http://www.melbournefringe.com.au/fringe-festival/show/political-asylum/

Satan’s Finest Mitch Alexander & Jackson Voorhaar
Squirrel Review: http://www.squirrelcomedy.com/?p=3889
Satan’s Finest is on at the Tuxedo Cat at 9:30pm
http://www.melbournefringe.com.au/fringe-festival/show/satan-s-finest/

Other recommended shows at the 2013 Melbourne Fringe.

Lisa-Skye – Songs my Parents told me

was a delightfully warm biographical story show that somehow missed out on a review during MICF. Lisa-Skye lovingly explores her parent’s generation and how it compares to and influences her own creative and interesting life. Lisa-Skye is just back from her first trip as a performer in Edinburgh, she should be on top form. It will be on at The Tuxedo Cat – The Jackle

Lisa-Skye will also be hosting a late night chat show at The Tuxedo Cat called Art Sex and Snacks, she will be interviewing performers about their craft.

http://www.melbournefringe.com.au/fringe-festival/show/songs-my-parents-taught-me/

http://www.melbournefringe.com.au/fringe-festival/show/art-sex-and-snacks/

Sammy J’s 50 Year Show 

which is a deliriously silly idea of Sammy’s to perform one big long show in parts, once every five years, for 50 years. I attended the 1st part five years ago and it was a whole bunch of crazy fun in the packed North Melbourne Town Hall. Many projects were begun by guest comedians that will be repeated or added to and the time capsule will be opened. One Night Only! Don’t miss it or you’ll have to wait another five years.

http://www.melbournefringe.com.au/fringe-festival/show/sammy-j-presents-the-50-year-show/

Comedy Pick and Mix 

is a one off Festival Club night curated by Melbourne comedy goddess Janet A McLeod and hosted by Andy McClelland and Oliver Clark in their personas of El Grande and Mr Nightlights. A creative mix of performers creating all sorts of mayhem and hopefully at some point El Grande will be tipping pot pouri down Mr Nightlights underpants. You won’t want to miss that.

http://www.melbournefringe.com.au/fringe-festival/show/comedy-pick-n-mix/

The Experiment curated by Asher Treleaven. 

A late night show at The Lithuanian Club during Fringe showcasing a great line up
of alternative comedy acts encouraged to take risks. There will be an air of competition to the show and the comedians will be competing with small dogs. I will leave it to Asher to explain:

“Each show I’m inviting members of the public to bring their small dogs to compete with the acts so we can finally discover whether Melbourne’s best Alternative comedians are more entertaining than a small dog. There will be a $15 prize for best small dog and at the end of the show the audience will judge who has been more entertaining. There will be excellent comedy, sketches and music but its mainly about ze dog”

Hopefully there will be a pooper scooper on hand in case of nerves.

http://www.melbournefringe.com.au/fringe-festival/show/the-experiment/

Tony Martin – The Yeti 

Probably the most highly anticipated show at this year’s (maybe any years!) Melbourne Fringe Festival. I don’t know if Tony has ever performed a solo festival show before and although he has recently tread the boards as a guest at The Shelf. it’s been a long time since he’s performed in his own festival show. This will be a narrative drawn from his autobiographical novel  Lollyscramble. A book that had me laughing out loud on public transport. Tony is what’s known as a ‘comedian’s comedian’ with a huge following so tickets are bound to sell out. He’s at The Butterfly Club.

http://www.melbournefringe.com.au/fringe-festival/show/tony-martin-the-yeti/

Khalad KHALAFALLA – DEVIOUS

By Luke Simmons

It wouldn’t matter whether he was performing to a 50 or 50,000 strong crowd, Khaled exudes the confidence to suggest his saunter on to the stage wouldn’t change one bit. The central theme of the hour long show is race and he uses his Egyptian roots to full effect.

He started off strongly with an educational – and hilarious – analysis of the events which occurred after the Taj Mahal was built. If it was to be remade in today’s age, Khalad’s point made it clear that no-one in the audience would put their hands up to build it!

Throughout the rest of the show, he didn’t veer very far away from the racial theme and used his full artillery of amusing accents for maximum laughs. He could be framed as a Chris Rock-like comic in the way he takes the piss out of the things that he hates about people from the Middle Eastern / African region.

Crowd involvement was a big part of the show as he plucked up conversation with almost every member (see: picked on) of the front row. He thinks very quickly on his feet and it was clear that he could use any sorts of details to destroy his target/s. Khalad is the king of banter.

Prior to closing out, he cut into an impromptu Usher song suggesting that he may be considering diversifying into pop as well. Or not. In any case, the parody song “worked” and it mixed up the show to nicely.
Yes, he’d be in the papers if he was not of Egyptian origin – but it’s just SO damn funny! And as he said, you leave your morals at the door when you see this cheeky man perform.

Without doubt, he’ll be expanding his base of material to ensure he doesn’t get pigeon holed as a “race comic” in the coming years. The guy’s a natural born comic who knows how to control the crowd, make them laugh and keep things running super smoothly. He almost won RAW comedy in 2011 and this performance suggests that we’ll see much more of Khaled on the comedy circuit in the years to come.

Khalad is performing Devious at the Trades Hall
http://www.comedyfestival.com.au/2013/season/shows/devious-khaled-khalafalla