Lano & Woodley: Moby Dick

Reviewed by Lisa Clark

We all had hobbies during lockdown and Colin has learned to play the tin whistle and has a bit of fun with it though he is clearly still on his Learner’s Plates. He’s also spent time reading Moby Dick and wants to tell us the classic tale, but of course Frank has other ideas.

If you are looking for hard and fast political standup these are not your guys. Those familiar with Lano & Woodley’s work, will know that Colin Lane is the straight man trying to keep the show on track while Frank Woodley – The Silly One – is constantly, and with the best intentions, derailing it with a lot of hilarious tomfoolery and physical escapades. Last time we saw them in the show Fly, (now available for streaming), Colin tried to tell us about the history of the Wright Brothers and failed miserably due to Frank’s diverting diversions. This year Colin is attempting to tell the tale of Moby Dick and if you’re worried that you won’t get to the story, don’t worry, you WILL have it told to you, twice.

Alright, I’ve never read Moby Dick by Herman Melville, it’s one of those huge bloated books that sits on a shelf reminding you that you are a failure for not finishing it. One day I will conquer you…. Apparently it teaches you a lot about whales and killing them. I’m not sure if Frank & Colin are giving us an accurate rendition, but if they are, god bless them for reading the tome for us. And also for turning it into an hour of hilarious entertainment.

The opening epilogue is a song that takes the audience through the general plot points of the novel, taking on the ancient theatre tradition of preparing us for the bigger play to come. You might not catch all the events in the song, but that’s fine because they will play out during the show, which you will follow better because you had that preview at the start…. This is especially useful as things become more and more chaotic on stage and the night I saw it there were some real sound issues that stopped the show and added to the chaos. The lads soldiered on and led us through the maelstrom like the well-seasoned professionals they are. It was hard to tell if it was part of the show, at first, considering they used to “accidentally” set fire to a suitcase on stage every night and sometimes audience members would actually call the fire brigade.

As is often the case, the unscripted moments were often the funniest and though they are not really topical comedians, there was a sprinkle of excellent topical gags, throughout the mayhem. At times I felt the warm camaraderie was missing, that Colin was a bit too shouty and angry with the hapless Frank but then they get to a bit of the story where Captain Ahab has become soooo horrible and unhinged that his sidekick and friend Starbuck plans a mutiny. Aha, I see what they are doing…. I think that must be it anyway.

The elephant, or white whale, in the room, sadly wasn’t. There was some brilliant, artistic light and sound design, in evoking the scenery, sea life etc, but considering the huge eye popping props that have appeared in previous Lano & Woodley productions I was really looking forward to meeting the titular mammal and must admit to being a little disappointed.

The best thing about a Lano & Woodley show is you can take the family, especially older kids who don’t want to feel like they are at a “kid’s show”. They have an amazing way of entertaining all ages and will leave you at times breathless, then smiling for days when you think about bits of it.

Lano & Woodley Perform Moby Dick at the Comedy Theatre til April 24

Lano & Woodley in Lano & Woodley

By Nick Bugeja

It’ll serve as no surprise that the stars of Lano and Woodley are, indeed, Lano and Woodley, one of the most successful Australian comedy duos ever. After formally reuniting after 20 years in 2018 with the show Fly, the coronavirus pandemic interrupted their revived partnership for the best part of a year. But now they’re back (again), this time delivering a show, full of sketch and slapstick skits that will please their fanbase and newcomers alike.

Lano and Woodley isn’t easily describable, but anyone with the faintest familiarity with them would immediately recognise their chaotic, frenzied comedic style. Yet, there is also a meaningful design to the proceedings; it’s amply clear that much planning has gone into the choreography and rhythm of individual scenes and the show as a whole. The songs – of which there are many – demonstrate this quality, especially when Lano and Woodley sing together in unwitting, conflictual duets. Of course, both of them are equally capable improvisors, with Lane playfully berating some front-row latecomers over the entire show, while Woodley humorously riffed off an audience member’s unexpected profession. Even when one of them misspoke stuttered over a line, that sometimes spawned new comedic openings. Lesser performers would have let this temporarily derail their show.

Although both excellent comedians in their own right, Lano and Woodley go up a notch together. The essence of their partnership is the oppositional styles they adopt. Lano is irritable and supercilious, Woodley credulous and blinkered, comedically embodying the ancient Yin and Yang principle. The set-up is often similar, but always rewarding: Woodley persists in his idiocy – like believing ‘Artica’ is a real place – to the point where Lano cannot help but unleash his frustration.

Woodley has the better of the two roles, and more comic freedom to generate the biggest laughs. He is Australia’s best ‘wacky’ comedian by some distance. Though Lano is hardly left the scraps, and makes the most of the spotlight on several occasions over the course of the show. His rendition of the ‘moving’ song, ‘100 green bottles on the wall’, just about matches Woodley’s ludicrousness.

At one stage, Lano remarked to no one in particular ‘I’m not sure if this qualifies as entertainment’ in the aftermath of an especially risible episode. The crowd, cheering, clapping, and laughing throughout, most certainly thought so. Of all the shows veering outside the parameters of traditional stand-up, Lano and Woodley is probably the most memorable of them.

Lano and Woodley is showing at the Arts Centre (Playhouse) until 4 April.

Melbourne International Comedy Festival Awards for 2018

This year instead of being presented in the middle of the night at the Festival Club as is traditional, The Melbourne International Comedy Festival Awards were instead presented at 1pm in the afternoon at Belleville. It was more relaxed and civilised with drinks and nibblies (and better lighting for photos) and it was great knowing that everyone in the room was involved and invested in the results, but sort of sad that it was restricted to invite only. I was very lucky to be invited, but other fans on the rim of the festival, but just as invested would have been sad (as I was when this happened once in the past) to not be a part of that middle of the night wild excitement and joy when a favourite, or someone you’ve discovered wins an award.

I can’t deny that there was some surprise as well as delight for Sam Campbell’s win. Although he has been performing in Sydney for a while and getting some TV work (you may have seen him on The Checkout), he’s still pretty much under the radar of the general public. We fell in love with his work when we saw Zanzoop! early in it’s run in 2016 and spent the rest of the Festival telling anyone who would listen that they should go and see the strange talk show hosted by a wise cracking alien in a back alley nightclub. This year we loved both shows he was involved with; his own, The Trough and Anne Edmond’s Helen Bidou – Enter the Spinnaker Lounge where he played Helen’s long suffering, very awkward son Connor.


Hannah Gadsby Presenting The Barry Award from New York

Barry Award, for the best show: Sam Campbell The Trough  

Nominees for The Barry Award:
Alex Edelman (USA)- Just for Us 
Anne Edmonds – as Helen Bidou – Enter the Spinaker Lounge
Tim Key (UK) – Megadate
Lano & Woodley (Colin Lane and Frank Woodley) – Fly!
Rose Matafeo (NZ) – Horndog!
Celia Pacquola – All Talk
Natalie Palamides (USA) – Laid


The Best Newcomer: Danielle Walker Bush Rat 

Danielle Walker

This award was presented by Sarah Dodds of Soho Theatre who will be bringing Danielle to London to make her Debut at The Soho Theatre.

Nominees for The Best Newcomer Award:
Paul Williams(NZ) – Summertime Love
Stephanie Tisdell – Identity Steft
Garry Starr – Performs Everything
Lewis Garnham – The Smartest Idiot You’ll Ever Meet
Nadia Collins – Virgin Bloody Mary


The Golden Gibbo Award (for an artistic independent production): 

Cam Venn

Cam Venn for 
Charles Horse Lays An Egg
The prize is a Bottle of Red Wine and was presented by Lynda Gibson’s Niece Emma Maye Gibson, also known as Betty Grumble

Nominees for The Golden Gibbo Award:
Sophie Joske and Anna Piper Scott  – Almost Lesbians
Garry Starr  – Performs Everything 
Julia Rorke & Elysia Hall – Not Another F***** B**** In India
Michelle Brasier & Laura Frew
(Double Denim) – Double Denim Adventure Show]

Lano & Woodley

People’s Choice Award:
Lano & Woodley – Fly!

This award signifies that Fly! sold the most tickets at this year’s Festival.


The Directors’ Choice Award:
Michelle Brasier and Laura Frew for Double Denim Adventure Show



The Pinder Prize: Demi Lardner – I Love Skeleton 
This Award funds her trip to the Edinburgh Fringe
to perform at Assembly Festival.



Heath Franklin

Piece of Wood Award (Peer Award from other comedians):
Heath Franklin – Bogan Jesus 


Funny Tonne Winner: Alasdair Bryant (76 Shows)

Deadly Funny National Grand Final winner: Leon Filewood (QLD)

RAW Comedy Grand Final Winner: Bec Melrose (NSW)  
Bec has won a trip to The Edinburgh Fringe Festival to compete in So You Think You’re Funny?.
RAW Runners-Up: Gavin Sempel (VIC), Emma Holland (ACT)

Class Clowns National Grand Final Winners Liam Adam, Carlin Carruth & Kyle Bennett (QLD) as ‘Awkward’!
Class Clowns Runners-Up:
Dusty Diddle (VIC),
Nina Cowley-Mousinho (QLD)
Shiloh Rea (QLD)
Nicholas Doring (NSW)

Colin Lane Presents

By Jayden Edwards

“Take a chance you stupid hoe” modern day Shakespearian Gwen Stefani once said. It’s this inspiring line taken from her song “What you waiting for” that Colin Lane uses as his mantra, his reason to give it his all and “decide to try”.

After a four year absence, and some gruelling daytime cooking show hosting (which he appreciates, don’t get him wrong), Colin Lane is back at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival with his new show Colin Lane Presents. And what Colin presents is a hour of wonderfully awkward, self depreciating and angry silliness.

The show starts off with Colin at his awkward best, standing atop his piano with his head obscured by the top of his stage, wondering how to gracefully continue. After a dragged out barrage of oh’s, ah’s, um’s, some fidgeting and a pair of scissors, Colin is revealed. There’s spatterings of laughter throughout the ordeal, and the audience is a little slow to warm to it all. But once the show moves on, and grows more and more wonderfully and intentionally off track, the punters jump on board.

There’s beautifully irreverent silly songs plus hilarious observations on that little car voice we all put on when no one can here us, the point of backwards type on Ambulances (or Ecnalubma’s) and whether hating dogs makes you an arsehole. It’s the little things in life that Colin likes to dissect, rather than big scary complex stuff, but backed by Coin’s childlike enthusiasm you’ll be as focused on them as he is, laughing all the way.

Towards the middle of the show, that patented funny-awkward kicks into overdrive after a ‘botched’ routine and nervy-angry one way argument with his technical director Jane (not her real name, she wouldn’t tell him her real name). After she gets up and leaves, Colin is left to run things himself; his fiddling and padding becoming the show. It’s a clever ploy, and a goldmine for material, although things do border on becoming a little too real at times, awkward wise.

As good as Colin’s material is, it’s his facial expressions, physicality and off the cuff stuff that really pack a comedic punch. There was a moment in this show where he interacted with a punter who got a bemused stare-down that had the audience in hysterics. That’s the stuff you can’t learn, you’ve either got it or you don’t, and it’s a great trick to have up your sleeve to pull an audience back.

The show ties up nicely as Colin returns to that Gwen Stefani mantra to pull himself though and get that re-railed train back on track.

Presents is a simple idea, executed brilliantly by a naturally gifted performer. If you’re after laughing without too much thinking, Colin’s your man.

Although the show should of been called ‘Take a chance you stupid hoe’, really.

Colin Lane Presents is on at the Melb Town Hall – Regent Room until April 20