Recommended and Previously Reviewed shows at Melbourne International Comedy Festival

Here Comes Melbourne International Comedy Festival 2019! There are more shows than EVER before and we Squirrels are here to help.

We have a list of all the shows we’ve previously reviewed and also a few that we’re excited about or keen to recommend.

The Aspie Hour had a short run at 2018 The Melbourne Writers Festival. It was a fabulous musical comedy in two parts by two brilliantly talented performers who apparently are both on a spectrum. It’s top notch comedy cabaret for those who love Broadway with laughs.

The Fringe Wives Club has welcomed new members and has grown from 3 to 5 performers. Last year we all rushed out to see Glittery Clittery and adored the crowdpleasing feminist cabaret, but we didn’t manage a review, sorry but the simple review is: We all LOVED it. This year we’ll be rushing to see their new show Glittergrass and make sure we review it.

Tom Ballard is being very busy after having his ABC show Tonightly cancelled. He’s jumped into the festival with gusto. As well as his own show, Enough, which is having a full season run, Tom will be hosting one of the political Tuesday nights at the Festival Club and most intriguingly he’s written a satirical political play called KWANDA. It’s about a Monday night political panel show but it’s not about QandA at all. No. Of course not.

Demi Lardner and Tom Walker both have solo shows again this year, but they have also teamed up to perform We Mustn’t and it’s bound to be weird, wonderful and hilarious.

Don’t forget to check out the alternate guide to the Festival:
The Safety House Guide.
Says creator and stand up comedian Lisa-Skye:
The Safety House Guide is a free magazine featuring nearly 100 of the best acts of the fest. Safe, but never tame, it’s not about censorship, it’s about empowering audiences to make the right decisions about the shows for them. It gives more info about stuff like content, access and the level of audience participation. It also has fun stuff like letters from comedians to their potential audience, info on workshops and quizzes. Grab your free copy around town, or at the launch!

Sam Simmons is a late entry to MICF with his new show 26 Things You’ve Been Doing Wrong with Sam Simmons suddenly be added to the Festival program.

On the down side some performers have already cancelled….But NOT……Tom Cashman XYZ, we read that he had but he has NOT cancelled. Go see him!

Shows that have been Cancelled:

Ronny Chieng has had to bow out due to being cast in a sitcom in pilot season in the US. We wish him all the success, but worry he may be too successful to perform here again… He has rescheduled his Australian shows for July.

Benny Darsow Ad Lib

Charlie Pickering Us & Them

The Elvis Dead by Rob Kemp,

Let’s Get Wild

One Man Breaking Bad by Miles Allen

Thomas McMahon and Nick Quon Total Business Solution

Blanc (That weird fashion circussy thing at Chadstone)

And NOW, Finally…..

Previously Reviewed shows – and links to our reviews:

Annie Louey – Before I Forget

Melbourne Fringe 2018: http://www.squirrelcomedy.com/?p=13164

https://www.comedyfestival.com.au/2019/shows/annie-louey-before-i-forget

Barnie Juancan – Tap Head

Melbourne Fringe 2018: http://www.squirrelcomedy.com/?p=13221

https://www.comedyfestival.com.au/2019/shows/tap-head

Bunk Puppets – Stark and Dormy

Melbourne Fringe 2018: http://www.squirrelcomedy.com/?p=13151

https://www.comedyfestival.com.au/2019/shows/stark-and-dormy

Clare Cavanagh – Literally

Melbourne Fringe: http://www.squirrelcomedy.com/?p=13192

https://www.comedyfestival.com.au/2019/shows/clare-cavanagh-literally

Chloe Black – Transistor Sister

Melbourne Fringe 2018: http://www.squirrelcomedy.com/?p=13202

https://www.comedyfestival.com.au/2019/shows/transistor-sister

Felicity Ward – Busting a Nut

Edinburgh Fringe 2018: http://www.squirrelcomedy.com/?p=12927

https://www.comedyfestival.com.au/2019/shows/busting-a-nut

Faulty Towers The Dining Experience

Edinburgh Fringe 2008: http://www.squirrelcomedy.com/?p=1633

https://www.comedyfestival.com.au/2019/shows/faulty-towers-the-dining-experience

The Breast of The Fest

MICF 2018: http://www.squirrelcomedy.com/?p=12624

https://www.comedyfestival.com.au/2019/shows/the-breast-of-the-fest

The Dizzy Biz – The 2007 Wonthaggi Blue Light Disco

Melbourne Fringe 2018: http://www.squirrelcomedy.com/?p=13180

https://www.comedyfestival.com.au/2019/shows/the-2007-wonthaggi-blue-light-disco

Wool! A History of Australia’s Wool Industry: The Musical by Kit Richards

Melbourne Fringe 2018: http://www.squirrelcomedy.com/?p=13145

https://www.comedyfestival.com.au/2019/shows/wool-a-history-of-australia-s-wool-industry-the-musical

Wool! A History of Australia’s Wool Industry: The Musical

By Lisa Clark

Squirrel writer Peter Newling got a peek at some of the songs from this that were performed by Kit Richards in the Lemon Showcase and he was pretty excited about them. He had a right to be, Wool! A History of Australia’s Wool Industry: The Musical is fricken Awesome.

I found Australian history as boring as bat shit back at high school, maybe because of the way it was taught, but Kit’s enthusiasm, grand songs and gentle humour really bring the world of 18th and 19th century Australia to life. This show focuses on the lives of John and Elizabeth MacArthur. Yes; he of the old $5 note and she of The Chair on Sydney Harbour. The couple who introduced the Merino sheep to Australia and began the wool industry. Kit uses hats and scarves and great comedy acting to denote characters pretty effortlessly.

Now history is messy and complicated, luckily Kit is not too fussed with the nitty gritty of it all, she’s more interested in telling a cracking tale well. This show reminded me of Drunk History, where history buffs might get annoyed at the lack of detailed research but the storytellers are passionate about their subject and don’t let the details get in the way of a good story. Meanwhile the audience has a ball laughing their arses off and learns something along the way.

The songs are lush and romantic and often quite funny with “Merino Sheep” being a standout. The songs fit together well as a score, but could possibly do with some different rhythms and tempos. She also admits that they don’t all flatter her singing voice, as she’s a bit weak in the high register, some voice tutoring should be able to sort that out. This is also a show that could possibly be performed by a group of performers, but for now it’s quite the tour de Force for writer/composer Kit Richards.

Kit is quick to point out that there are four people putting on the production: her on-stage pianist, who occasionally plays a part and sings, Kyria Webster, the very able tech person and director Lucy Rees, who’s done a great job at moving Kit around the stage so everyone gets to see her. Kit is enjoyable to watch, with great facial expressions and an endearing personality. Kit’s between song banter is also very winning, she claims to improvise it differently every night. I enjoy that she gives us some background to her songs, with some jokes and asides. Her passion for history is palpable, but she manages to convey it in a pretty relaxed manner.

This is a very dorky, sweet, comedy musical show about early Australian history that would be great to bring your teens to. Everyone will have fun and may discover a new interest in the history of Australia’s wool industry.

Wool! A History of Australia’s Wool Industry: The Musical is on at The Lithuanian Club (Son Of Loft) until September 22
https://melbournefringe.com.au/event/wool-a-history-of-australias-wool-industry-the-musical/

Lemon Comedy Queer Showcase

By Peter Newling 

A sell-out crowd packed into the warm and welcoming Hares & Hyena’s bookshop in Fitzroy for Lemon Comedy’s only foray into the Midsumma Festival for 2018. A small stage has been erected in the corner of the store, surrounded by chandelier, regency wallpaper and thousands of books. Complete with friendly bar service, who could ask for a better venue?

Lemon Comedy bills itself on its website as a “new global stand-up showcase that aims to promote diverse, sharp voices in comedy”. Younger performers get the chance to strut their stuff in front of a large and supportive crowd, while more seasoned performers can try out new material in a safe space. And, on this balmy Tuesday evening in Melbourne, they didn’t disappoint. The organisers brought together an eclectic mix of performers and performance styles for this one-night-only show. In fact, the audience was treated to seven classy acts across two hours of joy.

The quality of any gala often rests largely with the ability of the host – and in this role, Alistair Baldwin excelled. He kept the audience’s energy up between comics with warm repartee and generous introductions. His own material is terrific, managing to cover off topics ranging from Australia Post to cuttlefish in his mild-mannered, seemingly good natured shtick.

Space does not allow a full run down of all performers – so let me instead tell you about some acts to keep an eye out for in the future.

Melbourne comic Kit Richards was a stand out, giving the audience a sneak preview into the new musical that she is writing – which explores elements of early white Australian history and the difficulties of English folk adapting to Australian conditions. The songs were cleverly constructed, hilarious, and lovingly delivered. If that musical ever gets made, I’ll be first in line to buy a ticket.

Comedic trio Hit By A Blimp (aka Caitlyn Staples, Tiana Hogben and Jayden Masciulli) gave us an energetic mixture of sketch, song and interpretive dance in their Coldplay inspired portrayal of the pros and cons of Uber Eats. Well regarded improviser Nikki Spunde made a welcome return to stand-up and proved to be an audience favourite with her languid homage to sleep and haunting things.
Headlining the evening was the evergreen Geraldine Hickey. Whilst her choice of material – a set based on common fears – wasn’t the most imaginative of the evening, she won over the crowd with her trademark dry, laconic delivery, astute observations and easy-going nature. It was great for the younger comics to be able to enjoy a masterclass from such an experienced and assured performer, and provided the audience with a worthy pinnacle to their night’s entertainment.

Other performers rounding out this excellent, varied bill included Pat McCaffrie, Gamze Kirik and Liv Hewson.

Congratulations to Lemon Comedy on bringing together a great night out, and for giving us the gift of an inspiring celebration of diverse comedy. If you missed Lemon Comedy’s Midsumma gala, never fear. Their next gig will be on Valentine’s Day, and will celebrate, appropriately enough, the joys of singledom. Sounds like fun to me.

Lemon Comedy Queer Showcase was a One Off performance on 16 January 2018 at Hares & Hyena’s bookshop in Fitzroy