Aussies at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2012

By Lisa Clark

The Programme for this year’s Edinburgh Fringe Festival is up and as usual I have been scouring it to find out how many Australians will be putting on shows there this year.
Not all shows make it into the programme and not all are obviously Australian, so if you know of any I’ve missed feel free to contact Squirrel Comedy and I’ll add it to the list.

Sometimes it’s hard to define who to consider as Australian. Watching Rolf Harris perform in his union jack waistcoat at the Queens birthday made me think; does he really still define himself as Australian? It’s been his bread and butter, but I don’t really think of him as an Australian performer, more of a beloved British institution with an Australian background. And so as I went through this list it made me think; is someone like Brendon Burns or Mark Little still counted as Australian? Both list themselves in the Fringe programme as coming from England and neither have performed regularly if at all in Australia for many years. Should I only be listing people who are living in Australia and going over there? So what of Sarah Bennetto, who I left off a previous year’s list but then added when she asked me to… And why not? She lives in London, but does make regular trips home to perform and still participates with the Australian comedy community via twitter etc. Then there is someone like Celia Pacquola who’s been back and forth for a couple of years but is surely still an Australian act.

As you can see there can be some grey areas, I’ve added Mark Little to the list mostly to let people here know. He hasn’t done a show anywhere in a long time and there’s been a bit of controversy about the Fringe censoring the name of his show The Bullshit Artist in the Programme. Mark got pretty angry about it and I must agree with him. They’ve done it to several shows including Jon Bennett’s show Pretending things are a Cock. Though how C*ck is deemed more acceptable than Cock or the phallic picture on his poster is beyond me!

There are also acts below that I’ve never heard of, though I did try to check out their websites etc. I must say, I am amazed that some performers don’t have much current information on their websites, if they have websites at all! I can’t recommend this to performers highly enough. If you don’t have any personal web presence, get a friend to make a website for your show with some background info about you and your show if at all possible, even if it’s just one page. Let this be a reminder to everyone else to look through all the pages on your website and update it! Now!

Audiences, the media and comedy industry types have to choose what to go and see from hundreds of shows, your website might help them choose yours.

I’ve listed some shows from the Cabaret and Kids sections that have comedy connections and can recommend the cabaret show Briefs a group of hilarious drag/circus/cabaret performers from Queensland who wowed the HiFi Bar at The Festival Club. As the winners of RAW, Lessons with Luis have won the chance to perform in Edinburgh but are unable to take the whole family this year, so are planning to go in 2013.

I have also added reviews that we have done for shows where we have them. Some older reviews were originally published in our earlier incarnations The Groggy Squirrel, Australian Comedy Review and At the bottom of the list I’ve added some non Australian shows that we reviewed this year at MICF.

As usual The Gilded Balloon Teviot  is the venue packed to the gills with Australian and New Zealand performers but there are Aussies at all the major venues including The Pleasance Courtyard, Underbelly and beyond, including many great comedy acts performing with the Free Fringe. Venues are dotted all over Edinburgh with even some venues having various performance spaces in different parts of Edinburgh, such as Assembly with thirteen theatres at six different addresses.

Coming up over the next month or so, performers will be doing fundraisers in Australia to help pay for their trip and we thoroughly recommend that you support them as this is a huge undertaking. Most of the performers giving it a go have brilliant shows that are worth sharing with the rest of the world. It can only help our own comedy community for performers to go over and sample what else is happening, make connections, bring back their experiences and realise how world class Australian performers really are.

Exciting news that I can announce is that three Squirrels will be off to Edinburgh this year and will be sending back reviews and news. The lucky three will be Ron Bingham, (our UK correspondent), Colin Flaherty and yours truly Lisa Clark.

So enjoy the list and I hope it proves useful.


Adam Hills – Mess Around – Assembly Hall

Anne Edmonds – My Banjo’s Name is Steven – Underbelly Bristo Sqare

Asher Treleaven – Troubadour– Guilded Balloon Teviot
Squirrel Review –

Axis of Awesome – Cry Yourself a River – Pleasance Courtyard

Barry Morgan’s World of Organs –Underbelly Bristo Square
Squirrel Review –

Bec Hill Is more afraid of you than you are of her – Guilded Balloon Teviot

Bonnie Davies I’m high on life what are you on – C Ecca

Bob Downe – Smokin – Guilded Balloon Teviot

Bogan Bingo – Laughing Horse @ The Free Sisters

Bruce Griffiths – Because I felt Like it Free – Laughing Horse @ Jekyll & Hyde

Cameron The Comedian Davis– Human Conditioning – Laughing Horse @ The Free Sisters

Celia Pacquola – Delayed – Guilded Balloon Teviot
Squirrel review –

Claudia O’Doherty – The Telescope – Underbelly Cowgate

Confessions of a Grindr Addict – Assembly Hall

Bootleg Comedy Perth, – Convicted – The Cabaret Voltaire

Dave Thornton – The Some of All the Parts – Guilded Balloon Teviot
Squirrel Review –

Denise Scott – Regrets – Assembly Hall

Eric Hutton – Every other show in the Fringe Sucks free – Laughing Horse @ The Counting House

Ethan Addie – Rookie Mistakes – The Street

Faulty Towers Dining Experience – B’est Restaurant
Squirrel Review –

Felicity Ward – The Hedgehog Dilemma – Underbelly,Bristo Square
Squirrel Review –

Ged Cogley and Jamie McCarney  – Upstaging: A modern guide to acting for gentlemen and gentleladies Free – Laughing Horse @ The Counting House

Gravity Boots – Guilded Balloon Teviot

Hannah Gadsby – Hannah Wants a Wife – Guilded Balloon Teviot
Squirrel Review –
Mary. Contrary. – Guilded Balloon Teviot

Heath Franklin – Chopper in a Hard Bastards Guide to Life – Underbelly,Bristo Square

Imaan Hadchiti – A Little Perspective with Imaam – Guilded Balloon Teviot

Jackson Voorhaar – One True Loves Free – Laughing Horse @ The Free Sisters

Jennifer Carnovale – Scraping the Barrel Free – Laughing Horse @ The Free Sisters

Jimeoin – What?! – Venue 150 @ EICC

John Conway and Michael Burke – New Conway Dimension – Guilded Balloon Teviot

John Robertson – The Old Whore – Assembly Hall
– The Dark Room Free – Alternative Fringe @ The Hive

Jon Bennett – Pretending Things Are A Cock – Pleasance Courtyard
Squirrel Review

Karin Muiznieks – World War Wonderful – SpaceCabaret @ 54
Squirrel Review –

Keira Daley – Ladynerd -Assembly George Square

Lady Melville and Rosie Rebel – Dirty Thirty – Laughing Horse @ The Counting House

Madeleine Culp – Fark – Laughing Horse @ The Free Sisters

Marcus Ryan – Home and Away Free – Laughing Horse @ Espionage

Mark Little – THEbullshitARTIST -Assembly George Square

Marie Connolly – Cucu-rucu-cu in the French Alps – Laughing Horse @ Espionage

Michael Workman – Mercy – Gilded Balloon at Third Door
Squirrel Review –

Michael Workman & Tommy Little – Splitting the Bill – Guilded Balloon Teviot

Morven Smith – One in a Million Free – Laughing Horse @ City Cafe

Nellie White – The One Handed Show; An Introduction To Pornography Free – Cabaret Voltaire
Nellie missed out on the official programme but is in the programme of the PBH Free Fringe:

Nick Coyle – Me Pregnant! – Underbelly, Cowgate
Squirrel Review –

Nick Sun – Potty Time – Alternative Fringe @ The Hive

Out Cast Theatre – Mr Braithwaite has a new boy – C Aquila

Paddy Magee – Do Not Trust The Animals, free – Laughing Horse @ Espionage

Ro Campbell – Midnight Meltdown – The Stand Comedy Club II

Ryan Withers – One Woman Showe Free – Laughing Horse @ Jekyll & Hyde

Sam Simmons – About The Weather – Guilded Balloon Teviot
Squirrel Review –

Sammy J & Randy – The Inheritance – Underbelly,Bristo Square
Squirrel Review –

Sarah Bennetto – The Temps – Pleasance Courtyard
Storytellers Club –  Pleasance Courtyard

Sarah Jones – Does Not Play Well With Others – CAquila

Shane Dundas – Believe – Assembly Hall

Slow Clap [Vachel Spirason and Stephanie Brotchie] – Truth – Underbelly, Cowgate
Squirrel Review –

Tessa Waters and Kai Smythe – Sexytime – Underbelly, Cowgate
Squirrel review –

Tim Lee – Scientist Turned Comedian – Assembly Roxy

Tom Flanagan – Kaput –  Underbelly,Bristo Square

Xavier Toby – Binge Thinking – C nova

Yianni – Numb and Number Free – The Canons’ Gait


Briefs – Underbelly, Bristo Square

Crab House A Bloody Cabaret Free – Fingers Piano Bar

Funkier Than Alice – Love, Lust & Lager – SpaceCabaret @ 54

Lady Celeste – Exploring Down Under – The Street

Lady Sings it Better – Guilded Balloon Teviot

Sugar & Spice  – All the men we’ve never slept with The Voodoo Rooms

Virginia Gay – Dirty Pretty Songs – The Famous Spiegeltent


Bubblewrap & Boxes – Guilded Balloon Teviot

Frehd Astarr and Tim Eee – Ta Daaa!– Guilded Balloon Teviot

Mark Trenwith – Mr. Snot Bottom’s Stinky Silly Show – Guilded Balloon Teviot


INTERNATIONAL ACTS at the Edinburgh Fringe 2012  reviewed by Squirrel Comedy

Daniel Kitson – Where Once was Wonder
Squirrel Review– 

DeAnne Smith Livin the Sweet Life
Squirrel Review-

Dr Brown – Befrdfgth
Squirrel Review –

Alex Horne – The Horne Section
Squirrel Review –

Simon Amstell – Numb
Squirrel Review –

Sexytime Fundraiser and Review from 22/2/2011

By Lisa Clark

The Following is a Review from last year’s Adelaide Fringe Festival originally published on Sexytime was one of my favourite shows of the 2011 Fringe. It’s being re published because Tessa & Kai are taking this show to the 2012 Edinburgh Fringe Festival. This is a huge undertaking for artists and on Wednesday 13th of June at 8pm they will be performing the show at The Order of Melbourne as a fundraiser for the trip. If you missed the show at Fringe or at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival,  I can highly recommend you go see it and help them on their way

Details can be found Here

Sexytime – Review from 22/2/2011

Tessa Waters and Kai Smythe are very brave. Not only because they are performing a comedy show with barely any words, but because they begin it with barely anything on.

Where else to begin an exploration of sex, but with Genesis? In little more than flesh coloured underwear and leaves, they give us an amusing take on Adam & Eve. The leaves drop and reveal naughty bits drawn on with Texta. It’s a sort of extreme version of the nude suits that Judith Lucy, Denise Scott and Linda Gibson used to wear, and it can be a bit confronting in the front row.

Tessa and Kai obviously have a very close relationship off stage, for they often get quite intimate. Between sketches their on-stage interaction reminds me of Die Roten Punkte, with Tessa’s Germanic accent sealing this impression. Kai does not speak at all but still manages to create a fabulous sleazy yet somehow endearing persona. Their flirting with the audience has a consequence that surprises everyone when a girl’s dad kisses Kai on the cheek. He reacts perfectly by going all coy, yet strangely delighted.

The show itself is a neat 50 minutes of silent skits set to music, all about sex. They tend to involve a lot of mime and interpretive dance, so if these aren’t your thing, you might want to find some stand-up. Still if you stayed you might be pleasantly surprised, as was I. Tessa and Kai are simply  hilarious at what they do. I particularly enjoyed the armed combat with cardboard ‘penis and boob’ shield vs cardboard ‘cross with Bible’ shield, played out to the overdramatic strains of O Fortuna from Carmina Burana. Appropriate music, with lyrics that are a celebration of sex, gambling and drinking written by some very naughty monks.

Their final and longest sketch presented all the awkward horrors and delights of a first date that lasts ’til morning. Stripped back down to their undies, the sweet ending mirrors the opening sketch but with an appropriately happier, healthier outcome. Not all the sketches are as brilliant, but their kooky characters are able to pull it all off – so to speak – and keep the audience in fits.

Tessa Waters and Kai Smythe are performing Sexytime at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2012 at Underbelly Cowgate Check out the website for details

Melbourne International Comedy Festival Awards!

With only one day of the Festival left it is traditional that on the final Saturday of the Festival Club awards should be awarded to many worthy recipients.

Here they are in the order that they were won.

The Funny Tonne was won by

JENNIFER LAW who saw 102 shows

The Bulmers People’s Choice Award went unsurprisingly to

Wil Anderson

Wil was not in Melbourne, so it was accepted on his behalf by Tom Gleeson who tried and failed to get Wil on the mobile phone. Tom was happy not to win the award in the shape of a giant apple saying “Why would you drink cider when beer exists”.

The Golden Gibbo which includes a magnum of cheap red wine and was named after Linda Gibson is awarded to brave and independant shows, this year it goes to:


Luis and his 15 year old brother Luelin collected it. Len, their dad was at home. Luis got the audience of the Hifi Bar to ‘Meow’ and shout ‘I love Cats’.

The Piece of Wood award is a piece of wood given to a comedian by other comedians and was established by Greg Fleet. It was presented by Greg and last year’s winner Harley Breen to

who joyfully bit into the small block of wood and will have their names written on it in pen.

The Directors Choice Award had a subcategory award for a childrens’ show this year and was presented by Susan Provan to

Dr BROWN & STUART BOWDEN for Dr Brown Brown Brown Brown Brown: The Kids Show.

The Adult’s Directors Choice Award went to


Last year’s winner Michael Workman presented The Airport Best Newcomer Award which was a tie and went to two recipients:

Ronny Chieng and Matt Okine

The Barry Award for Best Comedy Show of the Festival was presented by 2010 winners Sammy J & Randy, to

Dr BROWN for his show BEFRDFGTH


In a side note, on the previous night an independent award by an Anonymous Benefactor called The Jhonesy Award was presented to

SHANE MATHESON and his fabulous singing bucket of Gravel. Shane & his bucket win $1,000 to help recoup their Festival Fees.


RAW Comedy winners: Lessons with Luis

Class Clowns winner: Aaron Chen

Congratulations to all the winners, the nominees and everyone who put on a great show at the Festival this year.
It’s really been one of the better festivals and we thank the performers for giving us some face achingly funny times.

Squirrel Comedy Writers list our Top Five Favourite Shows at the 2012 Melbourne International Comedy Festival

It’s impossible to get out to see every show at the festival. Especially for the Squirrel writers, as most of us have full time jobs in the real world. In the past when we were The Groggy Squirrel we gave an award for our favourite Australian show but it was always difficult for all of us to see the shows on our shortlist.
This year we’ve decided that each reviewer can list their Five Favourite  Shows of the Festival instead. It’s still a really difficult thing to do and some of us have seen more shows than others. We may even see a show that changes our list in the next few days, but this is what we have so far.

Hopefully these insights might help you plan your final few days of the festival.

1 Justin Hamilton – The Goodbye Guy
What a way to go. A stunning show about tying up his career, putting his effects in order and stepping out into the future. So Long & Thanks for all the Funny, Hammo.
2. Sam Simmons- About the weather
This was definitely better than last year’s award winning show. It had everything he’s famous for, plus a delicate structure and sweet romance.
3. Daniel Kitson – Where Once There Was Wonder
He makes shows for audiences who like to use their brains though he makes us do it at nearly midnight. A show about self growth and doing & thinking things you never thought would be possible. The reason I’ve not ranked it higher, is that, as much as I adore being in His presence, I felt it could have been edited down a little. (OMG did I criticise Daniel’s gorgeous work? EEK)
4.Felicity Ward – The Hedgehog Dilema
She just seems to get better and better every time I see her and she’s only been doing this for a few years. Seeing her break down on stage talking about her mum this year was achingly lovely. More importantly she’s the kind of comedian that can really make me nearly fall off my chair laughing and that’s happening every time I see her lately.
5.Hannah Gadsby – Hannah Wants a Wife
Hannah used one of my favourite paintings The Portrait of the Arnolfini (& other great art) as the basis for her show about gender throughout history. Great to see her tying her passions together to create an inspiring show. Her stage presence gets more relaxed and playful and better for it.

Runners up: Lessons with Luis, Plus One, Sarah Kendall & Tie her to the Tracks

Shows that I loved that were not Festival shows as such: The Shelf, Somebody To Love – The annual musical benefit for the Asylum Seekers Resource Centre at Trades (this year it was the music of Queen) and Puppet Slam at St Ali

1. Dr Brown – Befrdfgth
Unlike anything I’ve ever seen before but so, so funny. The man’s a genius.
2. Simon Amstell – Numb
He’s so clever, so hilarious. I would marry him in a heartbeat if only he liked women. I must find out how he feels about sham marriage …
3. Paul Foot – Still Life
Absurd, silly humour but a very fun show.
4. Slow Clap – Truth
A great production from some very talented Melbournians. Totally original.
5.Hannah Gadsby – Hannah Wants a Wife
A funny but also very interesting show. Hannah is really likeable and has that natural comic timing that makes it all look so easy.

1. Tom Ballard – Doing Stuff
Tom is the future of comedy in this country, and tearing the present to shreds.
2. Dave Thornton – The Some of All the Parts
Stand-up just doesn’t get much better that this. Just straight, witty, accessible stand-up.
3. Sam Simmons- About the weather
Sam just keeps getting better and better. One of the best experiences of the festival, year after year.
4. Tommy Dassalo- Pipsqueak
The little buddy that could! Tommy is quick, witty and so damn likable! Comedy with big soul.
5. Triple J’s Good Az Friday
Quickly becoming a major highlight of the festival! And great value… FREE!

1. Lessons with Luis – Kidney Kingdom
Three daggy, naive characters executed perfectly. It’s a shame that the run was so short.
2. Daniel Kitson – Where Once There Was Wonder
His first stand up show in years was a masterclass in how to hold an audience captiv(at)e(d) for about 2 hours.
3. Justin Hamilton – The Goodbye Guy
A brilliant wrap up for all those who have followed Hammo’s Festival oeuvre.
4. Ronny Chieng – The Ron Way
Ronny keeps you laughing all the while he talks down to you. Some serious comedy chops from this guy.
5. The Underlads – Living On Limbo Lane
A high energy show of extreme silliness. Seriously crude, clever and fun.

1. Daniel Kitson – Where Once Was Wonder
Kitson’s stand-up is incredibly thought provoking, and then cleverly undercuts every thought it provokes.
2. Asher Treleaven – Troubadour
Treleaven’s shows just get better every year. I think the main improvement this year was the inclusion of sexy diabolo. All shows could use sexy diabolo.
3. Mike McLeish and Fiona Harris – Plus One
Hilarious, poignant, and the closing musical number was my favourite thing this festival.
4. Sarah Kendall – Persona
Always intelligent, occasionally cringe-inducing, with a bedtime story at the end that is morally ‘grey’ at best.
5. Victoria Healy – Independent Women Part 2
Wonderfully nostalgic, uproariously funny and full of bogan charm.

1. David O’Doherty presents Rory Sheridan’s Tales of the Antarctica
This adorable and hilarious show contains my favourite phrase of the festival: “cat and kitten care” (say it out loud…in an Irish accent)
2. Justin Hamilton – The Goodbye Guy
Wrapping up a decade of shows – it’s a hell of a way to say goodbye!
3. Celia Pacquola – Delayed
Hard to believe – but she just keeps getting better each year.
4. Josh Earl is XXX
Awesome tunes and rocking stand up, looking forward to seeing him at XL.
5. Nick Coyle – Me Pregnant
This peculiar and touching story isn’t getting nearly the kind of attention it deserves this festival.

Also recommended: Danny McGinlay Learns Ukrainian; Michael Chamberlin – Joy & Despair; Simon Amstell – Numb; Dr Toby Halligan is Not a Dr

The Melbourne Airport Best Newcomer Award Nominees are….

The Melbourne Airport Best Newcomer Award Nominees were announced at Wednesday night’s Festival Club

The four nominees are:

Luke Heggie – Master of None

Matt Okine.

Ronny Chieng – The Ron Way

Tegan Higginbotham – Million Dollar Tegan

The winner will be announced Saturday 21st April with the grand prize of a trip to the Brighton Comedy Festival in the UK.

Grand Final RAW Winners

And the Winner of RAW is Lesson’s with Louis (and his family) in Luis Presents Kidney Kingdom

In case you missed its now finished, short run, Luis Presents Kidney Kingdom can be likened to a play put on for you by your strange cousins when you visit them in their suburban home. The execution is superb, the characters perfectly defined and delightfully daggy. The three characters are; the star Luis, his ever supportive dad Len and his quietly suffering little brother Luelin. The family took us to the moon, through the jungle and under the sea in search of a new kidney for Len.

They also brought down the house when they performed at The Shelf during the Festival.
Here is their website where you can find videos of their work

Runners Up at the RAW Grand Final were

Cameron James (NSW)

Amos Gill (SA)

RAW Comedy is Australia’s biggest and most prestigious open mic comedy competition and previous winners and finalists include Michael Workman, Neil Sinclair, Nick Sun, Nelly Thomas,  Josh Thomas, Hannah Gadsby, Peter Helliar, and Claire Hooper.

It is a pity that the RAW (or MICF) website provides no information about heat winners, which makes it hard to follow how things are going during the heats. One would think that providing easily accessible, up to date information online would be fairly simple in this day and age.
You shouldn’t have to subscribe and give over private information to find out.

Two days later there is still no news up on either The  Raw Comedy 2012 or MICF websites of the Grand Final winners.