The 32nd Melbourne International Comedy Festival has been officially
Launched for 2018. Hosted by comedy legends Lano & Woodley, their reunion this year, after 12 years apart, in their new show Fly is one of the big thrills causing quite a buzz in a gigantic, exciting programme. There are more than 620 shows in this years festival. Some of the shows are encore performances and others that we Squirrels managed to catch and review at other festivals.
Feel free to click on the links below and read what we thought of these earlier iterations, keeping in mind that festival shows are ever evolving beasts that change and develop over time, so the new version may be quite different to one we saw.
See a favourite off the telly, See someone you’ve never heard of. Most of all have a wonderful time and keep an eye on Squirrel Comedy as the new reviews roll in and we keep you up to date on what’s happening via our Social Media.
Written it Down is an improvised sitcom created by Matt Saraceni and Dave Zwolenski that has seen a lot of success. Starting out as an independent webseries, it has since been picked up by the ABC and Funny or Die. The premise is fairly simple – each episode involves a scene with two comedians. One has an important piece of news that they must tell the other, but they don’t know what that is until they read the piece of paper it’s written on.
The live version of the show was broader in its format – a mixture of Written it Down style sketches and short-form improv games. All of the performers had made appearances in the series and are regulars in the Melbourne improv scene – Jimmy James-Eaton, Liam Ryan, Sophie Kneebone, Michelle Nussey, Gillian Cosgriff, Stuart Packham and Cameron Neill. It was a fantastic group, each proving themselves to be quick-witted and hilarious. Packham’s baffling portrayal of a South African rollerblader was a stand-out.
Most of the show’s games would have been familiar to anyone who attends improv nights like The Big Hoo-Haa – Lines from a Text, Perfect Match, Scenes from a Bucket. A highlight of the show was a game where an audience member was pulled into a scene and could only use lines taken form interviews with footballers. The one Written it Down piece performed saw the group pair off and break up with each other for reasons submitted by the audience earlier – soy sauce addiction, smelling like their mother and being in love with Justin Bieber. The scenes were all very funny, however, the way they were staged, rotating through the three pairs several times, was a little disjointed.
Written it Down: Live! was closer to Theatresports than a live version of the webseries, but with a group of performers this strong, I can’t imagine anyone would have been bothered by that. The spirit of the series was there in all of the games they played. It’s a joy to see these guys perform, no matter what they do.
1. Much Ado About Something Shakesprovisation suits those of you who love the Bard, or those of you who resent him because you had to study Hamlet in high school. Using only your suggestions, the players will create a Shakespearean play for you on the spot (with hilarious results).
2. Romeos and Juliets
This show features some of Australia’s finest improvisers- your favourite members of The Big HooHaa, Impromptunes, The Improv Comspiracy, and Fresh Blood’s Written it Down including Matt Saraceni, Ben Russell, Sophie Kneebone, Daniel Pavatich, Tegan Mulvany, Wyatt Nixon-Lloyd, Luke Ryan, Natalie Holmwood, Roland Lewis, Sarah Reuben, Cameron Neill, Sarah Reuben, Jimmy James Eaton, and Brianna Williams.
3. All’s Well That Ended Well
The latest Perth ex-pat offering, this show is new to Victoria after enjoying a SOLD OUT season at Perth Fringe 2013. Come and enjoy what literally tens of Perth audience members could not!
4. Tight-Ass Adronicus
Can’t afford to see the latest professional Shakespearean production? Wish you could see Hugo Weaving carve it up in Macbeth, but don’t have the funds? This is a cheap alternative (with hilarious results!)
5. Midspring Night’s Dream Shakesprovisation is on at the Portland Hotel in Melbourne’s CBD at 6pm. Pop in after work, enjoy a pint of James Squire, see the show and still be able to get home in time to see The Bachelor. #teamsam
For information and tickets see the Fringe Website:
The concept behind Impromptunes sounds simple enough – the audience suggests the title of a brand-new musical and the performers create it before your very eyes. Actually inventing a new musical every night is a far more complex matter, however, the cast of Impromptunes make it look like the easiest thing in the world. Using their considerable musical talent, they work together to produce original works that are funny and full of heart.
Impromptunes features a rotating cast from a whole lot of different improv groups around town. On the evening I attended, the team consisted of Cameron Neill, Emmet Nichols, Louisa Fitzhardinge, Hollie James, Gill Cosgriff, Greg Lavell and Amberly Cull. The suggested title from the audience was ‘Purple Sneakers’, which led to the creation of a musical crime caper.
The musical told the story of the ‘Purple Sneakers Gang’ – an engaged couple who were planning to rob a bank – and a quartet of cops attempting to crack the case. Not only was the story the team created absolutely hilarious, there were even few moments that proved to be quite touching. The burgeoning romance between the two rookie police officers was adorable. The highlight of the show was the performance of ‘Life is a Panini’ – a wonderfully funny lament sung by Cameron Neill after his fiancé and mother land in prison.
The team is quick-witted and all respond well to cues from their fellow players. Gill Cosgriff was a stand-out as the no-nonsense mother who was somehow married to Michael Douglas. The show was remarkably cohesive for something made up on the fly. Sure, there was the odd jumble up of names or logical inconsistency, but as a whole, the story made sense and was satisfying. Lucy O’Brien was fabulous on the keys as the musical improviser for the evening. Her score for the story was spot-on.
Impromptunes is a great piece of musical theatre performed by some very talented young improvisers. With a different crew and all-new show every night, you can’t be sure what to expect, but you can be certain it’s going to be an enjoyable night out. Impromptunes is on in The Portland Room at The Portland Hotel until October 6.