By Colin Flaherty
Two brothers, who are shovel salesmen, are on the run from the Russian Mob. They are hiding where they couldn’t possibly be found, in a MICF Show documenting their plight. So begins Blake Everett & Oliver Coleman Dig Their Own Graves, a slightly meta and rollicking tale of action, sibling rivalry and violence that created quite some buzz during their run at Adelaide Fringe.
They forgo the straight man plus wacky jokester formula usually associated with double acts. Both title characters are completely bonkers with plenty of misbehaving manchild thrown in. Each has a hand in nudging the plot forward as well as spouting off-kilter lines to amuse and confuse. The peripheral characters, played by the tech guy, a friend and random audience members, are larger than life and bring extra lunacy.
A lot has gone into the sound design. They use sound effects to react to (often poorly with hilarious results) as well as mood music and amusing parody commercials. Lighting cues set the scenes perfectly while a variety of costumes and zany props flesh out this crazy world (one puppet is worth the price of admission alone!). So many items are thrown about the stage and audience that clean up must be a nightmare (hence the late time slot).
Role swapping keeps you on your toes and there are more twists than a mountain road. They successfully manipulate the audience through both wonderful plotting and ideas that seem superfluous on the surface but pay off later. A few scenes only vaguely fit with the story but they’re silly and enjoyable enough, even if they seem shoehorned in or just exist for a few bad puns. Regular festival goers will enjoy the cheeky digs at MICF shows past and present and all will have fun when they burst into song. Corpsing is a regular occurrence and they manage to keep the performance quite loose in spite of the substantial plot to get through.
This is a crazy hour where you will laugh your head off at a couple of masters of comedic surrealism. After your have had more than your fill and stepped through the carnage to the exit, you can purchase a shovel or two.
Blake Everett & Oliver Coleman Dig Their Own Graves is on at Storyville until April 18
1. Blake Everett and Oliver Coleman are two established comedians in their own right, but have decided to join forces to become the best comedic duo since Neil and Tim Finn.
2. They just received a 5 star review for the Adelaide Fringe run of their show. Blake has been getting 4 star reviews as a solo act for years, turns out all he needed to do was team up with a 1 star comedian.
3. It’s the only show about shovels at the Melbourne Comedy Festival, this year or any other year. Except for Wil Anderson’s 2017 show Wil it Shovel?
4. It’s not stand-up. Sure, go see some conventional stand-up comedy, but don’t forget about the weirdos! It’s late-night “absurdity that manages to keep its audience in stitches from start to finish” (The Advertiser).
5. If you come to the show Blake and/or Oliver will give you a snack (please pass on any dietary requirements to firstname.lastname@example.org)
Blake Everett and Oliver Coleman Dig Their Own Graves at Storyville and Trades Hall April 6 – 18
1. It’s a ‘Greatest Hit(s)’ show!
2. But, don’t confuse that with an actual greatest hits show, where an artist performs the best of their repertoire. This is not that, this is a brand-new show, and whilst I’m not denying that some of the bits could inevitably end up on my greatest hits album, they are currently not (as it does not exist).
3. In 2016 I was ‘king hit’ out the front of a Frankston cinema. “Oh, the title is beginning to make more and more sense now”, you say. And you’d be right to say that. “But, that doesn’t seem funny”, and once again, you’d be correct. It’s called pathos. It’s the crux of the show.
4. I respect the craft. If you respect comedians who respect the craft then you’ll definitely respect me.
5. I perform a unique blend of stand-up, sketch and musical comedy. It’s fast-paced and ever-changing, so if you’re not sure what your favourite form of comedy is, or you find yourself getting bored by an hour of talking, this show could be your true calling *ring ring* get your tickets, please.
Blake Everett performs Greatest Hit(s) at Tasma Terrace March 26-31
2. I’m real good at humour. The above reason was an example of said humour. If you come to the show you will see more of that, and it will most likely be of a higher quality.
3. It’s a one-man variety hour (50 minutes). The show is a unique mix of stand-up, musical comedy and sketch, so there’s something for the whole family (except children – they will be scarred for life).
4. It’s more than a comedy show. There’s an underlying moral that revolves around the idea that it doesn’t matter if you’re the king of nothing, as long as you’re doing what you love, and I most certainly am. Now you’re probably thinking, that’s not funny, that’s awe-inspiring and kinda beautiful… and my response is; yes it is. In regards to worries about lack of humour, please refer to reason number 2.
5. Support the local scene. I’m a 19 year old Melbournian comedian. I’m the future of comedy. If you don’t come see my show I’ll probably give up and you’ll be the sole blame. Like yeah, go see Paul Foot too, I know I will… but also see me.
Blake Everett performs King of Nothing at Tasma Terrace from April 10
For tickets and information see the Melbourne International Comedy Festival website: