By Colin Flaherty
In spite of a nuclear Armageddon, the human race must carry on… competing in events such as skiing, “What’s in this box?” and “Greg” as part of the tenth ApocOlympics. Justin Porter and Dan Pavatich bring us this romp set in a bizzaro alternate universe which is a tonne of fun and has laughs aplenty.

The story follows a number of threads that are all interconnected. We see the stadium construction, media coverage, journeys of individual athletes and even a twisted hero’s journey into the wastelands. There is some satire about the organising bodies of the modern Olympic Games but this is mostly the story of eccentric people trying to get by in a world gone mad.

Porter and Pavatich do a great job in bringing this huge cast of wacky characters to life. Porter brings a manic energy to all his roles, almost every one of them is suitably boisterous and larger than life. Pavatich’s are usually more subdued but he can turn on the crazy when needed. As they use no props or costumes, working out who’s who in a scene is a little tricky. With so many characters it takes someone to the address the other by name for you to realise where we are in the story. Once you have that sussed, the plot is a breeze to follow as everything is chronological.

The tiny stage means that dialogue trumps physical humour in this show and there are plenty of hilariously offbeat exchanges that fit in perfectly with this strange yet familiar world. All the scenes are relatively short as they flit from one storyline to the next, progressing things at a decent clip and keeping it punchy and tight. The only complaint is that the conclusion concentrates so much on tying up all the loose ends that we leave with a warm fuzzy feeling rather than split sides.

If you’re in the mood for some end of the world silliness, this wonderfully wacky play is a hoot.

ApocOlympics is on at The Tickle Pit at Fancy Hanks until October 2

5 Good Reasons To See ApocOlympics

1. It mixes the absurdity of a post-apocolyptic world with all the fun and chaos of the Olympics.

2. It answers the question “What if Trump wins the election?” – with the best possible outcome.

3. You love eating American-style BBQ and then enjoying a show. Or vice-versa.

4. You want to see a show with a hive mind, mutants, the hybrid half-chicken/half-turkey “churkey”, crow giants, Greg, guessing games and news broadcasts all in one show.

5. You have this intense desire to use a promo code. And the promo code is CHURKEY.

ApocOlympics is on at The Tickle Pit @ Fancy Hank’s from September 28 to October 2.

Visit the Melbourne Fringe website for further details:

Dan Pavatich – #1 Ninja

By Elyce Phillips  1 Ninja Dan Pavatich

In #1 Ninja, Dan Pavatich helps you achieve your goals through the power and strategies of the ninja way. Sort of. It’s part self-help, part sketch and all very, very silly. Pavatich is ably assisted by Ivy Latimer and Andy Balloch, who each perform a variation of Pavatich’s #1 Ninja self-help seminar, as well as a bagful of characters.

#1 Ninja feels like a show that’s still finding its feet. The conceit of the self-help seminar was a lot of fun, but the sketches that were interspersed between these bits didn’t always gel.  Some of the sketches were thematically disjointed, like a sketch about The X Files that went on a little too long. Others felt tonally out of place. A sketch about a boy’s weekend near the start of the show, for instance, went to a dark place without enough laughs to bring it back up. But having said that, there is a lot to like about #1 Ninja. Even though they didn’t quite work as a whole, taken individually, there were laughs to be had in every sketch.

There was some very clever repetition throughout the show, playing with the theme of each of the three self-help gurus within the framework of a set of re-used sketches. All three performers had moments to shine. Pavatich was at his best when the ninja mask was off, pulling painfully awkward faces on the deck of the Titanic. Latimer deftly portrayed a diverse range of characters, from a frighteningly perky TV co-host to a gruff and sweary office worker. Balloch was incredibly versatile, proving to be just as adept at playing serious moments convincingly as he was at playing up comedic moments for all they had.

#1 Ninja has the bones of a really strong show, and performers with enough talent to deliver it. With a little tightening and finessing, it could definitely be something great.

Dan Pavatich – #1 Ninja is on at the Improv Conspiracy Office Space until April 17


5 good reasons to see #1 NINJA

1. Shopping tips: How would you like to save 100% on mid-to-low tier fashion brands? A lot, good! Come on down and learn our secrets.

2. You are addicted to cream, collect used aerosols and/or hunger for play. You need help! Can’t you see that? Come on down, let us heal you.

3. You work in an office environment and spend most of your time camouflaged to avoid detection. You sound pretty advanced, let’s take you to the next level!

4. You have strong feelings about Life Coaches and/or Ninjas. 100% of you will love this show.

5. You are a direct blood relative of Dan Pavatich, Ivy Latimer or Andy Balloch, and are therefore obligated to attend (that means you Dad!).

Dan Pavatich, Ivy Latimer & Andy Balloch are performing #1 NINJA at The Improv Conspiracy Thur – Fri throughout the Festival

For more information see the MICF website:



The Improv Conspiracy – 3 Mad Rituals

By Elyce Phillips Improv 3 Mad Rituals

For the past few years, The Improv Conspiracy has been establishing itself as the company to see for longform improv. In 3 Mad Rituals, a team of fabulous performers take on a marathon of longform formats, displaying both incredible stamina and a talent for pulling comedy gold from seemingly thin air.

3 Mad Rituals is a 90 minute behemoth of improvised comedy. The players take part in three “rituals” designed by Del Close (a legendary performer and director at Second City) – Deconstruction, The Movie, and The Harold – all working from the one suggestion. In the Improv Conspiracy’s version, the suggestion is taken from a line of poetry called out from the audience. On the night I attended, it was Emily Dickinson’s “Hope is a thing with feathers”.

First up is the Deconstruction – a series of short scenes playing off an initial opener.  Performers Andrew Strano and Andrew Watt showed that they also had drama chops, starting things with a brutally emotional scene about a father caring for his drug-addicted son while he gets clean. The rest of the crew then skilfully created comedic scenes based on this relationship.

Following this was The Movie, in which the team created a half-hour “film”, complete with suggested camera and lighting instructions. From the embers of the preceding half-hour, they created ‘Noah and the Mecha-Angel’, an anime-style take on the biblical story, featuring Hayley Tantau and Mario Hannah as a pair of extremely unproductive water demons, intent on destroying the world but failing to do much about it.

Finally was The Harold, a long-form staple of The Improv Conspiracy. Here, things got a little hit and miss. A series of scenes about a murderous husband strayed into uncomfortable territory, with the dark subject matter not getting enough laughs to feel justifiable. However, there were also bright spots. Broni Lisle’s performance as a magician facing discrimination from his community was hilarious, as was Dan Pavatich as the nation of Chad, who inexplicably spoke fluent Japanese.

3 Mad Rituals is a wonderful opportunity to check out some of Improv Conspiracy’s strongest performers testing their skills in a gruelling format. Keeping a captive audience with a 90 minutes show that starts at 10:15pm is a tall order, but the team well and truly accomplished it, keeping the room in stitches for the duration.

3 Mad Rituals is on at The Improv Conspiracy – Theatre until October 3


5 Good Reasons to see Big Strong Boy by Dan Pavatich

1. You are a friend or family member of Dan Pavatich (or Marcus Willis – The Director of Big Strong Boy).

2. Your Father once responded to your heartfelt SMS with a “Thank you.” Yes, you were friend-zoned by your Father.

3. Your Grandfather lied to you about Italian Easter traditions, and now you embarrass yourself in front of other Italians.

4. You would like to know more about X-Men Versus Street-fighter and/or Japanese Sex Clubs.

5. You’re the kind of person who would love to hear about one mans journey of discovering what he is not.

Big Strong Boy by Dan Pavatich is on at The Improv Conspiracy Office 18-25 Sept

For Tickets & Info: https://www.melbournefringe.com.au/program/event/view/bda6625f-fbd0-48e2-97b6-d5357a1817d9