Andy & Nellie’s Secret Second Family Variety Show

By Colin Flaherty

A Biscuit Heiress and a Quoits Champion find their marriage on the rocks. Rather than attending counselling, they slug it out at The Concerned Billionaire’s Club AGM where the Champs’ bastard children perform in an attempt to change his wifes’ mind not to leave him. The result is the most unlikely and creative framework for a variety show imaginable.

Some beautifully insane characters were created to inhabit this elaborate world that was so much more than just linking material for some guest performers. You often found yourself patiently sitting through an act just to get back to the main story. Nellie White portrayed the unemotional, power crazed Heiress with wonderful detached pomposity while Andy Matthews played the neutered patriarch who relayed the majority of the plot exposition through lengthy monologue. A particular stand out was Dave Warneke as the slightly backwards son of the couple. He threw himself into the role wholeheartedly and nothing was too demeaning for a joke, no matter how minor the pay off, which had everyone waiting to see what he would do the next time he stepped on stage.

Through all the silliness, bad puns and exaggerated melodrama there was some thinly veiled social satire at work here but nothing too heavy to take away from the lightness of the show. The staging of the show was brilliantly done in a slightly homemade yet elaborate fashion. We saw some wonderfully oversized props, a stoic feathered friend and a feat of stage engineering to wrap up a seemingly minor plot point. We were fully immersed in this strange yet familiar world from the get go.

The line up of Illegitimate Children (ie. Guest performers) changes every night. On the night I attended the ‘Children’ were Stuart Daulman, Gillian Cosgriff and Oliver Clark. If there was one niggling shortfall it was that these guests weren’t fully integrated into the universe created by the core cast. They made a passing reference to being Andy’s offspring but essentially just did their usual act. This was probably the only brief given to them about being on this variety show but an act tailored to the overall show would have been a nice touch.

As a variety show this is a great hour of entertainment. Add in these crazy characters and their story arc and this show is elevated to a must see event.

Andy & Nellie’s Secret Second Family Variety Show is on at The Tuxedo Cat at 7:15pm until September 28.

http://www.melbournefringe.com.au/fringe-festival/show/andy-nellie-s-secret-second-family-variety-show/

Shows at the 2014 Melbourne International Comedy Festival previously reviewed by Squirrel Comedy

By Colin Flaherty

It’s not long until the 2014 Melbourne International Comedy Festival gets into full swing. To assist you in navigating the colossal program, here are 26 shows that we have reviewed in other festivals. Keep in mind that all shows will have undergone a fair bit of spit and polish since we last saw them.

2014 – When We Were Idiots: A Comedy Walking Tour Hosted by Xavier Toby
Burke & Wills Statue, City Square
http://www.squirrelcomedy.com/?p=4924 (Melbourne Fringe 2013)

Alexis Simmonds 0-9 Tales of a Straight, Single Cat Lady
Comedy On Collins
http://www.squirrelcomedy.com/?p=3406 (MICF 2013)

Andy Matthews – String Theory
ACMI – Games Room
http://www.squirrelcomedy.com/?p=5133 (Melbourne Fringe 2013)

The Boy With Tape on His Face – More Tape
Forum Theatre – Upstairs
http://www.squirrelcomedy.com/?p=5466 (Adelaide Fringe 2014)

Cam Knight – 100 Percenter
The Upstairs Lounge @ Hairy Little Sista
http://www.squirrelcomedy.com/?p=5443 (Adelaide Fringe 2014)

CJ Delling – Reality Bandit
The Bull and Bear Tavern
http://www.squirrelcomedy.com/?p=5448 (Adelaide Fringe 2014)

FanFiction Comedy
Melb Town Hall – Cloak Room
http://www.squirrelcomedy.com/?p=4332 (Edinburgh Fringe 2013) & http://www.squirrelcomedy.com/?p=3380 (MICF 2013)

Impromptunes: The Completely Improvised Musical
Trades Hall – The Annexe
http://www.squirrelcomedy.com/?p=5083 (Melbourne Fringe 2013)

The Improv Conspiracy : A Night in Chicago
The Croft Institute
http://www.squirrelcomedy.com/?p=4865 (Melbourne Fringe 2013)

Marek Platek : Wormhole
The Provincial Hotel
http://www.squirrelcomedy.com/?p=5009 (Melbourne Fringe 2013)

Juliette Burton – When I Grow Up
Trades Hall – The Meeting Room
http://www.squirrelcomedy.com/?p=4284 (Edinburgh Fringe 2013)

Late Night Letters and Numbers
Melb Town Hall – Powder Room
http://www.squirrelcomedy.com/?p=3846 (MICF 2013)

The Little Dum Dum Club Live Podcasts!
http://www.squirrelcomedy.com/?p=3469 Five Boroughs
(MICF 2013)

Marcel Lucont : Gallic Symbol
The Tuxedo Cat
http://www.squirrelcomedy.com/?p=2701 (Adelaide Fringe 2013)

Nellie White is The Shitty Carer
Imperial Hotel
http://www.squirrelcomedy.com/?p=5093 (Melbourne Fringe 2013)

Political Asylum Late Night Riot!
Melb Town Hall – Supper Room
http://www.squirrelcomedy.com/?p=3785 (MICF 2013)

Pop Mashup : Happy Birthday Doctor
The Butterfly Club
http://www.squirrelcomedy.com/?p=5101 (Melbourne Fringe 2013)

Radio Variety Hour
Comedy On Collins
http://www.squirrelcomedy.com/?p=5089 (Melbourne Fringe 2013)

Rhys Nicholson – Eurgh
Portland Hotel – Gold Room
http://www.squirrelcomedy.com/?p=5424 (Adelaide Fringe 2014)

Sam Allen & Chris Harrigan Inside the Egg: The Life of Anne Geddes’ Prisoner Children
ACMI – Games Room
http://www.squirrelcomedy.com/?p=4842 (Melbourne Fringe 2013)

Set List
Melb Town Hall – Lower Town Hall & Victoria Hotel – Vic’s Bar
ttp://www.squirrelcomedy.com/?p=3748 (MICF 2013)

Simon Taylor : Funny
Imperial Hotel
http://www.squirrelcomedy.com/?p=5024 (Melbourne Fringe 2013)

Sitcom Theme Song Singalong and Trivia
The Provincial Hotel & Imperial Hotel
http://www.squirrelcomedy.com/?p=4930 (Melbourne Fringe 2013)

Stephen Hall : Raiders of the Temple of Doom’s Last Crusade
Comedy On Collins
http://www.squirrelcomedy.com/?p=4983 (Melbourne Fringe 2013)

Wizard Sandwiches : The Last Lunch
Trades Hall – The Music Room
http://www.squirrelcomedy.com/?p=5004 (Melbourne Fringe 2013)

Wolf Creek : The Musical
Trades Hall – Old Council Chambers
http://www.squirrelcomedy.com/?p=5049 (Melbourne Fringe 2013)

Nellie White is The Shitty Carer

By Colin Flaherty

In …The Shitty Carer Nellie told the story of her experience working in the UK as a carer, a role she was rather unqualified for and completely unprepared. The advertising is rather drastic (see the image to the right) so the expectations of something comically over the top were high. The resultant show however was the polar opposite with low key observational humour, deliberate pacing and an extremely serious tone.

The show started off well with some amusing stories about her time spent in London and how she fell into her role as carer. We heard of how dreary London was, her brief spell of homelessness and the homes she shared with some eccentric characters. Most of the humour came from White’s blunt, occasionally crude, comments about her actions and bizarre quotes from the people she encountered. We laughed with some shock at her temerity and often un-PC thoughts.

When White went into detail about the woman she cared for, a former doctor named Lee, the number of laughs decreased dramatically. There was the odd amusing comment about her comical attempts to cope but generally it turned into heartfelt recollections about her time spent with Lee and her dismay at the lack of support for the gravely ill. This about-face seemed to be due to both the very serious subject matter and her direct involvement with Lee who, as revealed at the top, had passed away since.

It must be a huge emotional drain to revisit these memories every night but it was a hindrance to both the comical content and her delivery. Her words slowed even further than her usual laissez-faire candence and she seemed to be on the verge of tears. After about only thirty-five minutes we were thrust from the theatre to ponder the experience. Her conclusion was not very optimistic and left all feeling rather down; not the greatest way to end a comedy show.

There were the bones of a powerful and entertaining performance in this show but it needs some work before it becomes a polished comedy work with a message. It would have been nice to see some rage rather than all the sorrow to get the points across in an amusing manner.

Nellie White is The Shitty Carer is on at The imperial Hotel until October 6
http://www.melbournefringe.com.au/fringe-festival/show/nellie-white-is-the-shitty-carer/

5 Good Reasons to see a Melbourne Fringe Festival show at The Imperial

Five Reasons to visit The Imperial during Melbourne Fringe

ONE) The Imperial will be hosting 19 fringe shows this year! All comedy!

3 LITTLE GIGS
OUR LITTLE STORIES
XANDER ALLAN – GLAM
SIMON TAYLOR – FUNNY
LOVE, FACTUALLY WITH TOM LANG
NELLIE WHITE IS THE SHITTY CARER
NEIL SINCLAIR ‘CHARMINGLY USELESS’
VICTORIA HEALY PRESENTS WE ♥ COMEDY
MURPHY MCLACHLAN HAS TWO LAST NAMES
SONIA DI IORIO – DON’T KISS THE WEIRD GIRL
THE LATE NIGHT BOARD GAME SLUMBER PARTY WITH MIKE BROWN AND FRIENDS
SOME NUTTER’S DONE A RUNNER WITH CRAIG MCLEOD AND DOUG GORDON
THE HAPPIEST BOWERBIRD AND OTHER STORIES BY JONATHAN SCHUSTER
SITCOM THEME SONG SINGALONG (AND TRIVIA) WITH BERT GOLDSMITH
PEOPLE CRYING ‘ADAM KNOX’ AS THEY LEAP FROM PLANES
ROLAND HOFFMANN – EVERYTHING WILL BE ALRIGHT
BEING A WHEEL FAMILY. MEET THE MCGERES
BEAU STEGMANN: HERE’S LOOKING AT ME…
COME HECKLE JESUS

TWO) We have a lot of shows on every night. You can show up, and know something will be on. In fact, we only have two nights off for the whole festival (the first two Saturdays). We have shows starting on the hour, and we’ll have some discount drinks cards around for anyone who wants to come and hang out in between shows. We’re a comedy hub!

THREE) Whether you want to sing along to sit com themesongs, or shout abuse at Jesus Christ, we have a show for every taste! We also have a lot with zero audience participation, if the singing and heckling isn’t your style. The Imperial is a great place to take a punt on a new show. Our volunteers on the door can tell you all about the shows, and make recommendations based on your tastes. Sketch, poetry, standup, impro, storytelling, and whatever else you can think of.

FOUR) We are very generous. Head to our Facebook page (www.facebook.com/impycomedy) where we will be giving away tix and keeping everyone up to date on deals, whether tickets will be available on the door and of course, instagramming the hell out of the whole thing.

FIVE) The Imperial is a great place to observe comics in their natural habitat. Stick around after the show, have a beer with these kids, and you’ll be fast friends. Buy the beer, and you’ll have a friend for life.

The Imperial is one of the main Fringe Festival venues in Melbourne’s CBD at the corner of Bourke and Spring streets right near Parliament Station.

Find out more at The Imperial Website

http://comedyattheimperial.com/

These Kids are Good.

By Lisa Clark

It’s great to see a show where you get a taste of several performers, to give you an idea of what they are like and hopefully encourage you to see their solo shows. This one is six regular comedians, plus a guest, who do around five minutes each. If one doesn’t appeal, it won’t be long before you’re checking out the next one.

The comedians appearing in this show have been handpicked by affable host Tom Ward, most famously best friend of Josh Thomas in real life as well as playing the part in the TV series ‘Please Like Me.’ Tom is getting a fine reputation of his own in comedy circles and has chosen the kind of comedian that he enjoys and is unsurprisingly closest to his own and Josh’s style. So we get a line-up of six youngish gen Y bespectacled and/or bearded, smart, slightly awkward, gentle charmers doing a modern brand of observational humour and getting away with the occasional filth. These are not ‘angry young men’ (or woman) shouting about what boils their blood, they’re more likely to be bemused or annoyed about stuff.

Some of the performers though unknown have been treading the boards for a while and are pretty solid standups including the laid back Alasdair Tremblay-Birchall, cheeky Jonathan Schuster and ever delightful Neil Sinclair. Then there is Nellie White who’s been living away from Melbourne, in the UK and Perth for the past six years. She’s someone I’ve always admired for being very left of centre, if a little nervous in her delivery. She’s doing some filthy gear and it’s nice to have her back on the scene.

It’s lovely to discover new faces too like tonight’s guest comedian John Campbell (he had a MICF show last year, but is new to me) reading his annoyed letter about public transport and the confident Andy Matthews who is currently doing a double act in the festival with Tony Besselink

I’ve seen several of these comedians performing elsewhere and they’ve been refreshing in the line up and often even killed the room, but all together, I felt they needed some sort of contrast to add more balance to the hour. Still, if this style of comedy is what really rocks your boat, it’s a great way to see some appealing up and comers who are pretty good at it.

These Kids are Good is on at The Imperial Hotel
http://www.comedyfestival.com.au/2013/season/shows/these-kids-are-good