Bronwyn Kuss – Sounds Good

By Lisa Clark

Bronwyn Kuss has a very distinct style of comedy which is slow, quiet and downbeat where sometimes the silences are longer than the jokes. She’s as dry as you might expect a comedian from country Queensland to be, she’s also confident and comfortable on stage, but what is her second solo festival show about? Certainly not what the publicity blurb suggests.

OK so let’s talk about the description of the show in the MICF Guide:

Very mild themes* and language** and no crowd work***

This show is a safe space***, or a trap. Who knows.

Anyway, sing out if you need anything.

Bronwyn relays stories about her childhood and growing up with too many aunties****, ruminates on how close she came to joining a cult***** and laments her total inability to ever make a decision.

Sound good? You should probably buy a ticket.

*she talks about paedophilia

** she teaches us the meaning of “Growling Out”

***she teases the front row and latecomers (though she doesn’t ask what they do for a living thank god). One bloke in the front row, moved back a row, part way through and Bronwyn stops the show to comment on it and embarrass him.

****what Aunties?

*****what cult?

Nothing else in the blurb seems to reflect the show I saw either. Is it part of her dry ironic humour or is it indeed a trap?

So things change a lot as a festival show develops, that’s normal, but the actual content was all over the place and perhaps is not quite ready for a festival. The many brief stories she touches on were really interesting, quite funny and could have been the basis of shows of their own. A story about working in a prison would have been a goldmine of material and her trip across American could have been a brilliant structure for a show. Instead her side stories have the vaguest of connections to her main thread.

It was also frustrating to see her specifically reference certain people to highlight homophobia in the most lazy way imaginable. She refers to drag artist Pauline Pantsdown in the past tense as if she died in the 90s (she’s  still active politically on Twitter) and talks about Pauline Hanson but appears to be unaware of the current news cycle were Hanson has somehow, surprisingly, (and potentially hilariously) come out as a gay advocate.

My mind started to wander as she talked about a first aid course, finding her slow delivery style quite the slog for an hour of stand up. Her tales about her relationships included information about a Bendigo paedophile called the Bendigo Toe Tickler which elicited a shocked gasp from the audience louder than any laugh she received.

It’s a very meandering show where she attempts the “going off on many tangents” style of a Billy Connolly or Ross Noble but doesn’t quite pull it off. The original story is not quite riveting or memorable enough for the audience to be excited about returning to. The journey of coming out to her dad at the beginning and her Mum’s different reaction at the end lacks something when we’ve learnt very little about her parents to have any connection with them and maybe coming out stories just aren’t as interesting as they used to be.

Bronwyn won awards and nominations with her debut show last year and I can’t help but think this one suffered from a bit of second album syndrome. Bronwyn has a unique comedic style and a lot of potential.

Sounds Good is on at The Westin until April 23

Joshua Ladgrove – Baba

By Jess Welch

If you thought you had a tough lockdown, try being the sole caretaker of your 97 year old Ukrainian grandmother, the titular Baba. You might not think a comedy show about caring for, and subsequently losing, a grandmother during the pandemic could possibly be funny. It doesn’t exactly seem like prime comedy material. But Joshua Ladgrove is no ordinary comedian.

Ladgrove weaves the story of not just caring for his grandmother while dealing with a global pandemic, but the wider stories around them. From his Baba’s upbringing in Ukraine, he details her life of ups and downs, triumphs and tragedies. He recounts his own upbringing, surrounded by family. It is a story of love and loss and hope and despair. It touches on so many heavy topics that to list them all would put anyone off buying a ticket. But that wouldn’t be doing it justice. It’s something that will stay with you, long after you leave. It’s one of those shows that’s more than comedy, yet still has more than enough light-hearted and hilarious moments to keep from dragging you too deep into the darker side. It’s comedy plus tragedy.

Ladgrove has been a familiar face at MICF for many years, though perhaps not always a familiar name. As a character performer, he won acclaim and more than a few awards. Now, in a completely startling departure from the world of character comedy, he takes to the stage as himself. It’s raw, powerful, hilarious and heartbreaking. Above all, it’s truthful – something most comedy can’t boast. It has moments of shock and discomfort. But all of that is soothed by equal moments of peace, calm and, most importantly, love. Ultimately, it is a tribute to the matriarch of his family and it is an incredibly beautiful one.


Australians at Edinburgh Fringe 2022

The 75th Edinburgh Fringe Festival begins this week and, after a bit of an enforced break, there will be a strong contingent of Australian acts (as well as Aussie Expats and adopted Aussies) back in Auld Reeky town raring to tread the boards again. Here is a list of those we could find along with any reviews we have previously written.

Our British Correspondent Ron will be seeing a whole slew of shows and reviewing them for us.

To all those performers in Edinburgh, Chookas from The Squirrels and have a wonderful Fringe.

Adam Knox, Luka Muller and Peter Jones – 3’s Comedy




Aboriginal Comedy Allstars (Sean Choolburra, Janty Blair, Kevin Kropinyeri and Jay Wymarra)




AC/DC: Australian Comedians / Dope Comedy (Hosted by Daniel Muggleton)




Adelaide vs Edinburgh: The Clash of the Fringes




Adults Only Magic Show (Sam Hume and Justin Williams)




Aidan Jones – Looking for Work





Aidan Jones – Taco





Alcohol Is Good For You





Alice Fraser: Chronos





Ange Lavoipierre: I’ve Got 99 Problems and Here’s an Exhaustive List of Them



The Anniversary (Claire Barthomew & Daniel Tobias)




Anthony Jeannot: The Middle Bit





An Aussie, African and Englishman Walk Into a Bar…




Beak: Cocktail Boys (previously part of Burger King Illuminati)





Best of Adelaide’s Fringe Comedy





A Bookish Comedy Show





Comedy Boxing





Comedy Hour: Prue Blake, Peter Jones and Sonia Di Iorio




Comedy Striptease (Hosted by Kyle Legacy)




Dan Rath: Cockroach Party





Dan Wills: Australia: A Whinging Pom’s Guide




Daniel Muggleton: Oh, More Mr White Guy?




Danielle Walker: Nostalgia

Here is what Bren Carruthers thought of it at MICF 2022:


David Boyle: Stranded





Dean Misdale: Life’s a Drag





Dolly Diamond’s Hi T





Dolly Diamond’s Bosom Buddies





Erin Fowler: EGG





The Eric Tinker Experience





Gabbi Bolt: I Hope My Keyboard Doesn’t Break




Garry Starr: Greece Lightning





George Dimarelos – 3am Brain





Geraldine Quinn: BROAD





Grant Busé: SentiMENTAL!





Haus Party with Otto & Astrid





He Huang : Crazy Broken Chinese





How to Converse





Matt Harvey : I Got Bit by a Monkey Once

Here’s what Peter Newling thought of this show at MICF 2019:


The Importance of Being Earnest as Performed by Three F*cking Queens and a Duck



Jimeoin: The Craic!





Josh Glanc: Vrooom Vrooom





Karen from Finance is Out of Office





Late Show Great Show (Featuring 3 mystery Australian comedians!)




Laura Davis: If This Is It





Liars and Clowns: A Late Night Comedy Show (Presented by Kyle Dolan)




Life Drawing With a Comedian





The Listies: Hamlet – Prince of Skidmark





Lloyd Langford: DILF





Maryellen : Call Me Me





Michelle Brasier: Average Bear

Here’s what Lisa Clark though of it at MICF 2022:


Mick Neven: Nevolution





Nikki Britton: One Small Step





Oliver Coleman: Sublime





Olivia McLeod: PASH





OZmosis: The Great Australian Variety Pack  (Hosted by Dane Simpson)




Randy Feltface: Alien of Extraordinary Ability




Ray Badran: Sweet Baby Ray





Reuben Kaye: The Butch is Back





Rhys Nicholson – Rhys! Rhys! Rhys!





Sam Campbell: Comedy Show





Sam Taunton: Yoho Diabolo





Tim Ogborne : The In-Laws





Tina del Twist: Caravan in the Sky





Tom Walker: Javelin





Troy Kinne : Live

Sean M Elliott – Tesla: Death Rays & Elephants!

By Colin Flaherty

Science communicator Sean M Elliott presented a comedic lecture that covered selected highlights from the life of Nikola Tesla. It does what it says on the tin and features all the elements listed in the title.

Stories from Tesla’s life were hand picked to feature the more extraordinary events but glossed over many parts of the story (eg. who won the Current War and why?) – a disappointment for sticklers for narrative completion. These tales were often bizarre so no other humorous lines were added, missing the opportunity for bigger lols. Similarly the facts had precedence over jokes which was certainly important for scientific accuracy but was a little dry at times. This resulted in the audience being glued to Elliott’s words rather than chuckling along regularly. Fortunately we found some laughs in his humorous asides, straining puns and the misbehaving Tesla Coil.

Seeing that Elliott was a Science Communicator I was a little surprised that his diction and presentation style was a bit all over the shop – like a kid excitedly telling you all about their most favourite thing in the world ever. I guess this fitted in with the Mad Scientist vibe he seemed to be going for and undoubtedly made him interesting to watch.

The show featured some demonstrations of the concepts he covered. I’m sure he would have loved to get the audience more involved but working with electricity restricted this. He cleverly made one inanimate object – the Tesla Coil – the star of the show which was cute, particularly the amusing finale.

Tesla: Death Rays & Elephants! was a great educational show that doesn’t get bogged down in jargon so all can understand, including the kids in the audience. A fun hour about this engineering pioneer that was fascinating with a few giggles thrown in.

Tesla: Death Rays & Elephants! is on at the Imperial Hotel until April 21

Dr Jason Leong You Stupid or What?!

By Colin Flaherty

Dr Jason Leong is a rising superstar of the Malaysian comedy scene. That’s what his self-penned bio says and the sold out audiences he has played to so far on this run of shows will concur. He delivers solid, crowd pleasing observational humour that has everyone in fits of laughter.

His Chinese Malaysian background arms him with an interesting comedic outlook. We get the requisite view of Australia from a foreigner’s view which is charming but this is just a small part of the show. His amusing stories such as those about judgemental in-laws and traditional beliefs are closely tied to his culture and use some localized terms. Expats will instantly relate to these while he keeps the themes universal so everyone gets the gist.

He also gets a lot of comedic mileage from his career as a doctor. Not only do we get tales from the wards and his misadventures, he gives us medically accurate routines that stop just short of being graphic. A brilliant comedic lecture comparing men and women’s pain thresholds is both educational and hilarious.

Leong does mock outrage perfectly as he complains about others behaving or speaking in ways he finds abhorrent. Combined with an amusing mix of superiority, comic aggression and humility, he gets plenty of laughs from taking the higher moral ground while letting slip his same behaviour as the accused. Addressing us in a rather blunt manner and expressing some quite dark thoughts magnifies the hilarious hypocrisies and has us laughing both at and with this lovable nick-picker.

He has certainly built up a considerable Australian audience following previous visits as part of group shows and they have been out in force this year. With fans having photos taken with Leong after the show, he has already attained rock star status. If you’re unfamiliar with his work, check him out ASAP. You won’t regret it.

You Stupid or What?! is on at The Coopers Malthouse, Merlyn Theatre until April 22

Karen From Finance and Dean Arcuri – Les n Mis

By Elyce Phillips Les n Mis

You can hear the people sing this MICF. Well, more specifically, you can hear Dean Arcuri and Karen From Finance sing. Les n Mis is a cheesy, over-the-top tribute to one of the most iconic musicals of all time.

In Les n Mis, the class warfare of the French Revolution is scaled down somewhat, Arcuri and Karen From Finance fighting the good fight against the tyranny of the Myki ticketing system. In the first act, we are introduced to the evil ticket inspectors, and poor fare evaders who must turn to selling themselves in order to pay their fines. Arcuri starts the show strong, bringing the funny with absurd lyrics. Karen From Finance takes things up a notch with some fine physical comedy.

In the interval, the duo perform a version of ‘Master of the House’ that satirises the current government and their appalling treatment of the Safe Schools program. It’s funny and well-written, but feels out of place when they return to the mundanities of Myki. The satire of the second act becomes a little limp with a mid-show reminder that there are more important things to be fighting for. It’s a minor jarring moment, however, as the second act is even more absurd than the first and quickly has you laughing.

Arcuri and Karen From Finance work very well together. Both are wonderful performers. When Arcuri sings live, his voice is truly impressive. He engaged the audience at all times. Karen From Finance’s drag performance skills are spot-on, particularly her ridiculously exaggerated lip synching. Her version of ‘Castle On A Cloud’ was absolutely hilarious, rightfully mocking what is an awful song.

Les n Mis is obviously geared towards fans of the musical Les Miserables, but even if you haven’t seen it, there’s plenty to enjoy here. The show is big and silly and rages against the daily struggles we all face. Acuri and Karen from Finance are a fabulously funny pairing.

Karen From Finance and Dean Arcuri – Les n Mis is on at the Hare Hole (Hares & Hyenas) until April 10