Stuart Daulman : Masterclass

By Colin Flaherty

“Comedy genius” Stuart Daulman (Steve Bennett wrote it so it must be true!) presented a seminar detailing all that’s required to survive in the comedy game. If you’re expecting serious comedic writing tips you’re better off seeking the services of someone like Tim Ferguson. While he did cover stagecraft this was mostly about The Hustle, neediness and backstabbing that goes on.

This was an ambitious performance where, in true Daulman fashion, he fully committed to the concept. As lecturer he played it completely straight with plenty of business mantra chanting and constant requests for networking opportunites. The war stories got chuckles of recognition as did the familiar elements of festival shows.

Daulman’s delivery suited the piece and cleverly blurred the line of what was lighthearted joking and heart wrenching anger. A live phone call to his mum was a stilted awkward affair that was accurate rather than funny which may or may not have been the point. His descriptions of the humiliating process of ‘putting yourself out there’ and chasing a career in the arts was bleak comedy at it’s best.

Jake Ludowyke handled all AV duties using a delightfully old school overhead projector. The text shown on the slides was wonderfully excessive to give some context for those outside the industry (if you could read quickly enough that is) while having fun with Powerpoint sins. He showed many actual photos and posts from Stu’s social media as well as carefully selected quotes from show reviews (former Squirrel Elyce Phillips got a mention, umm… hooray?). Particularly adorable was the lo-fi animations using transparencies which when combined with bombastic music was hilarious. Ludowyke’s role was so much more, regularly acting as cheerleader for the audience to provoke reactions.

The finale was a demonstration of this master performer at work.  Stu ritually changed into the comedian’s uniform and ripped through a solid set that would go down well in any beer barn, but a lot of the big laughs for us are in recognising all the bad tropes covered previously. There was also the deeper understanding with the knowledge of all the shit he had gone through that provided extra layers.

This show was definitely geared towards an experienced festival audience, in particular those in the biz. This was so much more than a hilariously faux bad business seminar and laid out Stuart’s emotions bare. Stuart Daulman’s Masterclass was a powerful glimpse behind the curtain of the life of a standup comedian.

Masterclass is on at Melbourne Town Hall (Regent Room) until April 21

Stuart Daulman – Death of a Daulman

By Colin Flaherty

Armed with a Moosehead Grant, Stuart Daulman has decided to stage his own funeral for this years’ Festival. With Jake Ludowyke as Pastor John, Daulman plays all the other roles that are paying tribute to him. A lot of the humour comes from the dismissive sentiments we hear from a soccer coach with a score to settle and an opportunistic fellow stand up – Justin “The Dustbin” Murray – (industry folk will find plenty to laugh at during his speech). Others provide not much more insight into the man as they wax lyrical about a youthful Daulman in their own odd ways. It was both a satire about disrespect of the dead and a wonderfully silly celebration of a regularly silly comedian.

Much like his stand up, the funeral proceedings have a slightly ramshackle feel to it. A detained friend dropped from the program at the last minute and a quickly thrown together slideshow speak volumes of the slight legacy of the man and are amusing ways that the show feels like it is always on the verge of falling apart despite being tightly scripted.

Ludowyke was a suitably poe-faced Pastor but was on the verge of corpsing occasionally, which delighted the audience. Unlike real funerals, guilty laughs are encouraged and expected. Kitted out in elaborate costumes, Daulman handled all the roles with ease. His brother was ridiculously serious in spite of a silly tribute requested by his late sibling and Granny was adorably scatterbrained. Everyone got the giggles when the choirboy first sang in falsetto…and continued to sing all the verses of Abide With Me.

My only complaint, despite Stu’s comedy colleague, Justin, making good with the promise to promote his own show “Bin Night“as we left, is that the service ended on a rather sombre note. Instead of ending on some sort of comedic bombshell or surprise, we quietly filed out of the room where we could marvel at the most elaborate and expensive prop of the festival. I’m sure many selfies will be taken with it, just as Stuart would have wanted.

Death of a Daulman is on at the Victoria Hotel – Acacia Room until April 22

Squirrel Comedy’s Recommended and Previously Reviewed Shows at Melbourne International Comedy Festival 2015

By Lisa Clark

Well the Squirrels are getting ruffled up and ready for autumn nut collecting. And comedy reviewing. There are soooo many shows on offer at the 2015 Melbourne International comedy Festival and it can be very difficult for us to see everything we want to see, let alone review everything we want to review. For those readers who are planning their Festival schedules and are in need of help, we have some good news: Squirrel Comedy has previously reviewed thirty of this year’s shows and we have laid out links to all those reviews below.


First Up here are some brilliant shows I previously saw & loved but Squirrel Comedy hasn’t reviewed.

I recommend you see:Claire Hooper School Camp

Claire Hooper’s School Camp

Claire takes us back to school days in a raw & truthful way where nostalgia takes some surprising and dark turns that make this show very special.


Celia Pacquola – Let Me Know How It All Works Out.

Celia’s show about fortune telling and her international lifestyle was another of Celia’s crowd-pleasing corkers.
Celia Pac Let me Know

Barry Nominated last year as word got around it was selling out like hotcakes, so if you weren’t lucky enough to see this gorgeous show better book now.


Denise Scott – Mother Bare

Denise deservedly won the Barry Award last year for her droll and often riotous reflections on motherhood and other aspects of her comedic life.Denise Scott Mother Bare pic

She’s only doing four shows this year at the fan friendly time of 4.30 Sundays, so get your tickets early.



And now for shows that we have previously reviewed.

Particular highlights this year that I can also recommend include:

Are You Afraid of the Dark by Watson Watson Afraid of the Dark

Watson’s funny and occasionally genuinely scary show is not for those with a nervous disposition or heart condition but my goodness it is a monstrous load of fun. It can only fit smallish audiences into the space at the Old Melbourne Gaol so book early, I hear the first week is booking out fast. Not surprising as this show won Best Comedy at the Melbourne Fringe Festival and considering it is site specific it is one you will have to come to Melbourne to see.


Bart Freebairn Ultra Power LordBart Freebairn pic

Bart is a comedian at the top of his game just waiting to be discovered by the mainstream. I get the joyful shivers when I see a stand up comedian reach a point where they can host a room and own it keeping everyone rolling with laughter non stop. Bart is there and I hope everyone loves Ultra Power Lord as much as I did at Fringe last year.


Bucket’s List by Sarah Collins starring Justin Kennedybuckets list

Buckets List is a whimsical, beautiful and of course very funny tale with a star turn by the amazing Justin Kennedy (who we just don’t see enough of on the circuit any more – I miss him, but if this is the sort of work he’s producing then I’ll forgive his absence). Justin is blessed with the ability to make an audience laugh without saying a word and when I see independent theatre this good I think our major theatre companies should have a good hard look at themselves.


Damian Callinan – The Lost WW1 Diary of Private Paddy CallinanPaddy Callinan

A perfect show for this anniversary of ANZAC it’s another comedy character tour de force by Damian where truth and tall tales blur with loads of laughs and a streak of darkness. The true spirit of the ANZAC is thoroughly celebrated.


We can’t wait to discover new exciting comedy at this year’s Melbourne International Comedy Festival  but meanwhile

Here’s the full list with links of those we reviewed earlier:

The 13–Storey Treehouse

Anthony Jeannot is Unaccept-a-bubble

Bart Freebairn: Ultra Power Lord

Clem Bastow – Escape From LA

Damian Callinan – The Lost WW1 Diary of Private Paddy Callinan

Dr Brown – Befrdfgth

Dylan Cole – The Moon in Me

Fancy Boy Variety Show

Faulty Towers – The Dining Experience

Geraldine Hickey – Listen Out For The Castanets

I Love Green Guide Letters Live

Justin Kennedy – Bucket’s List

Late Night Letters and Numbers

Lee Naimo – Finding Lee

Lisa-Skye’s Lovely Tea Party

The Little Dum Dum Club Live

Luke McGregor – I Worry That I Worry Too Much

Mark Butler – Grammar don’t matter on a first date

Political Asylum – Late Night Riot

Sam Rankin – Wake Up, Sheeple! (2.0)

The Sexy Detectives – Mono Logs

The Sound of Nazis

The Umbilical Brothers – KiDSHoW – Not Suitable for Children

Stuart Daulman is an Absolute Credit

Stew Walker – A Hard Day’s Night of Beatles Parodies

Gary Portenza: Apologies in Advance

Set List

Watson – Who’s Afraid of the Dark

World Record Show with Andy Matthews, Adam Knox and Dave Warneke

Zoe Coombs Marr – Dave


5 Good Reasons To See Stuart Daulman Is An Absolute Credit

1. This show is culmination of a lot of work and deserves to be seen ok? Jeeeez!

2. Stu is funny, but oh man he has a sensitive side doesn’t he? And this is funny to people.


4. It’s DEFINITELY not a game!

5. This show offers a rare glimpse into the the man behind the mask, and explores the myth and murky mysticism marvellously meandering the magical meanings of the marvellous mug that is Stuart Daulman.

*BONUS REASON* – It’s not a game guys.

Stuart Daulman Is An Absolute Credit is on at the Forum Theatre. For more information and bookings visit the website:

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.

Stuart Daulman is an Absolute Credit

By Elyce Phillips

Stuart Daulman (of Wizard Sandwiches and Fancy Boy) returns to the Melbourne Fringe this year with his second solo show. Stuart Daulman is an Absolute Credit sees the comic in familiar character-acting territory while he performs his stand-up, however, a twist towards more personal storytelling provides an interesting counterpoint to the usual chaos.

With his bumbling delivery and cheesy gags, Daulman’s stand-up persona lies somewhere between the pub jokester and the regular comedy act down at the local RSL. His jokes walk a wonderful line between cliché and absurd, and are punctuated with a scattering of one-man sketches. Daulman is truly in his element. His disheveled suit and slightly-off-time sound effects make him as endearing as he is hilarious. The pacing of Daulman’s stand-up is impeccable. With the repetition of a few key phrases, he works up a rhythm that has the audience laughing with every introduction of a new anecdote.

The second half of the show is marked by an abrupt change of mood. Daulman sits down and tells us a very personal boy-meets-girl story, the painful ending of which will be familiar to many. Here, the jokes slow down. For the most part, the story is presented as a blow-by-blow recounting of events. There’s not a lot of delving into why this particular girl was so special or why the relationship failed. As Daulman gets further into the story, it appears that the events are still quite raw, and it doesn’t always feel appropriate to laugh.

There are some highlights, however – Daulman’s description of anxiety is really insightful, and a slideshow of photos is dark and hilarious. Whilst this section of the show wasn’t as strong as the opening half, it’s certainly brave of Daulman to engage with such personal material, and it’s great to see him pushing his performance range by doing comedy that’s such a departure from the outright silliness of his work with Wizard Sandwiches.

Shows like ‘Stuart Daulman is an Absolute Credit’ are what the Fringe is about. It’s funny, engaging and it’s trying something a little different. Daulman is a wonderful comedic talent and this show is well worth your time.

Stuart Daulman is an Absolute Credit is at The Imperial Hotel at 9pm until 28 September