By Lisa Clark
This is the tenth year of Ali McGregor’s Late-Nite Variety-Nite Night and it’s still going strong in the Spiegeltent at the Arts Centre. Always a wonderful way to catch some of the best quirky acts from the Melbourne International Comedy Festival handpicked by our gorgeous host.
Ali delights us with her spine tingling takes on gorgeous songs in between reclining on her Chaise Longue to enjoy the work of her Guests. The Guests are mostly inclined towards Cabaret, clever circus or quirky standup. Ali is supported by a delightful Jazz band who enjoy the show as well.
We had current cabaret sensation Gillian Cosgrove doing a few numbers at the piano, including one about yoga. She’s fabulous and my friend has recently become a massive fan since seeing her current show at the festival.
Jan Van de Stool, a character who would not be out of place in an episode of Kath and Kim, who usually apparently teaches singing, provides a little variety by dragging two teams of audience members on stage and have them compete at peeling and eating an apple. The joke was that this was an actual game described in a vintage “Party Games for Adults” book and it was as stupid and pointless as it sounds. Jan doesn’t do this in her own show which is a relief, but the audience enjoyed it and she carried it off.
Mario Queen of the Circus was Queen’s biggest fan and is a much sharper level of comedy character. Dressed as Freddy Mercury, an outrageous flirt and brilliant juggler, his act was clever, slick, weird and surprisingly wildly entertaining.
Tim Vine pummelled us with an avalanche of his brilliant one-liners then did the breathtaking Pen Behind the Ear bit with success. Hussah!
The highlight of the evening though, returning to Ali McGregor’s Late-Nite Variety-Nite Night, was Asher Treleaven. In the past he has been her faithful butler Saxon McCallister, tonight he was The Sexual Gentleman and gave us the most impressive and sexy juggling (of the diablo) I’ve ever seen and one of his best readings of a Mills & Boon ever. It had the audience, the band and Ali howling with laughter.
It can be really hard to give or take a recommendation for a MICF show worth seeing. It depends on each person’s taste, but if you like your comedy on the offbeat and a bit of top class cabaret you are going to have a great time and hopefully become a fan of a new act and go see their full show.
Ali McGregor’s Late-Nite Variety-Nite Night is showing on weekends at The Famous Spiegeltent at Arts Centre Melbourne
For more informations see the MICF website: