Gabbi Bolt – Odd Sock

By Lisa Clark

Last year as we came bleary eyed back to MICF from covid lockdowns there was one new name rising above the others, everyone was talking about Gabbi Bolt. It was her debut and she was wowing the building crowds. Odd Sock is Gabbi’s 2nd album of sorts and if you couldn’t get in to see her last year Gabbi’s back to show us what all the fuss was about.

The exuberant opening song “I got Nothin’” is very funny and fills the room with energy and expectation. Her lyrics are dense and packed with jokes so quick you might miss them if you’re not paying attention. She warns us that, like Seinfeld this is a show about nothing, and in some ways it is; it has no grand overriding theme or sprawling story to tell but through her songs we learn a lot about Gabbi, where her mind is at, how she sees the world and her politics.

Gabbi writes silly songs, and autobiographical songs, but her best stuff pokes hard at power. Gabbi is very politically astute, which is not surprising, as she originally came to the attention of the public through her political songs on Tic Toc during lockdown, when she went a bit viral. She has been embraced by the Australian comedy scene but in particular by the political comedy scene as a regular contributor to A Rational Fear live recordings in Sydney, she’ll of course be appearing on their MICF one off special too.

For added interest, there is an audio-visual element to the show, pictures and videos pop up on a screen, and it has its good points and bad. The screen is a bit small for people up the back, and can sometimes distract from the song, (who’s listening to her dense lyrics when there is a cute doggie on the screen looking at us?) and do I want to look at feet? No. But you might come specifically for the feet pics and if so, good luck to you. The positive side is that it breaks things up, creates a running gag for Gabbi and helps to prompt the audience in what she is joking about, though one portrait did not help me identify an obscure politician she references, maybe it was a NSW thing, there were a couple of laughs from more politically savvy audience members for that.

The opening song has a real Tim Minchin vibe and her closer “Love Song fo an Incel (I’d get on with Your Mum)” is reminiscent of Geraldine Quinn at her best, they were the night’s highlights, along with her stinging eye opener about Police Training. The song about her movie star crushes teach us that Andrew Garfield has made a LOT of shitful films, and Spiderman.

She’s certainly the best new musical comedian I’ve discovered since Jude Perl. Like her peers Gabbi is blessed with all the requirements of a top musical comedian, she can sing, she can play, she can write great toe-tapping tunes and most of all, she’s funny. In such a short time she’s come a long way, there’s still some way to go yet and I look forward to watching her grow and reach the heights she deserves. Look out world.

Gabbi Bolt performs Odd Sock at The Butterfly Club at 7pm every night!

Welcome to Melbourne International Comedy Festival 2023

It’s that Most Wonderful Time of the Year, Comedy Christmas!! Melbourne is chockers full of comedians and comedy fans all excited about the three weeks to come.

It’s hard to recommend shows, as everyone’s taste will vary, but I assure you that the Festival will have something to make YOU laugh, there are over 600 shows to choose from! You just have to find Your thing and that is part of what we Squirrels are about, helping you have a great night out. Our reviews can give you an idea if a show might be for you. Sometimes I can even read a negative review and think, no actually, that one might just be my cup of tea. That’s why it can also be great to take a punt on something new if it piques your interest.

I can definitely see a mini trend of musical comedy being back So I thought I might focus on this genre of comedy and list some acts that I can honestly recommend to you as astonishingly talented and funny performers. They have to be brilliant musicians, singers AND Comedians to really pull off Musical Comedy well and they can come at it from different perspectives be they political, geeky, storytelling, raunchy or just plain silly.

Recommended Musical Comedy Shows at MICF 2023

I’ll start with the well known superstars of Musical Comedy: Tripod, Sammy J – Good Hustle, Geraldine Quinn – Broad, Gillian Cosgriff – Actually, Good, Die Roten Punkte – Otto & Astrid’s Joint Solo Project (directed by Neill Gladwin and Dramaturg Casey Bennetto), Andrew Hansen –Is Cheap [The one from The Chaser who sang the songs]. (Do Lano & Woodley count as musical comedians? I have a CD of their songs….so maybe.) You just cannot go wrong choosing to see any of these amazing accomplished performers.

Newer local upcoming stars that everyone was talking about at last year’s festival include Reuben Kaye – doing 2 shows this year; Live and Intimidating and The Kay Hole, Michelle Brasier – Legacy, Gabbi Bolt – Odd Sock and Jude Perl (with Nina Oyama) We should Hang Out –[ it is Sold Out right now, hoping for an extra show]

There are also Cabaret Showcases such as Ali McGregor’s Late-Nite Variety-Nite Night, Josh Earl’s 100%Hits and of course Haus Party at The Festival Club where the cream of the musical comedians (and other comedy stylings) will be turning up for spots.

Overseas musical comedians who may be new to you are visiting our shores in Festival season, here are some who are really worth checking out: UK’s Huge Davies [he’s dry and super cool, and part of New Order], Jordan Gray – Is It A Bird? [Ed Fringe Nominee pipped out of the top prize by our own Sam Campell] and Laurie Black – Dystopiano [doing feminist post punk synth comedy], I’ve seen them all, they’re great.

New Zealand’s Two Hearts We’re Pregnant and The Baby is Music, I think I’ve enjoyed them at a Festival Club….

Then there is Ned Kelly The Big Gay Musical by Kaine which is the only one I’m recommending that I’ve seen this before, but it looks like it might be jolly fun.

Other comedy at MICF.

Older school comedians coming to the Festival who you may not have seen do a show in a few years include Ed Byrne, Dylan Moran, Kyle Kinane, and our own Paul McDermott, Tony Martin, Bev Killick, Brad Oaks & even Akmal is back.

Political Comedy is popular too with Tom Ballard doing 2 shows, A Rational Fear doing 1 big show and Sammy J doing it via character comedy. Melissa MGlansey’s The Briefing (About maddening US politics – which is awesome, check it out). Osher Gunsberg Night Time News Network National News, is a curiosity we’re all wondering about, will it be political comedy? Or just a news lampoon, anyway it involves impro. Ben Russell, Greg Larsen & Friends are laying their politics out there with Election Results (Not Satire), they couldn’t be clearer, could they?

In Other News

European Bier Cafe has been renovated, re-named and is now called Morris House.
Some shows are already sold out or selling fast, new shows have been added for Sam Campbell, Tony Martin and Maisie Adams.
Cancelled shows are listed at the top of the list of shows on the MICF website.

If you know of shows cancelling or selling out, feel free to let us know on the socials or by email.

Gabbi Bolt: I Hope My Keyboard Doesn’t Break

By Ron Bingham

Excellent debut Fringe show from Gabbi Bolt, in which she did a little dancing, snazzy banter and a lot of very funny songs.

Gabbi is fresh from being the word of mouth break out star of festival season downunder and winning Best Newcomer at the 2022 Sydney Comedy Festival. Her keyboard songs and stories are whip smart, gaspingly funny and cover a vast amount of ground. From the angst of climate change, living in a small town (Bathurst, before she moved to Sydney), the danger of responding to crazy people on one’s webpage (what DO conspiracy nuts do if their parent’s house doesn’t have a basement?), to the joys of children, the audience loves it all. I have to say my favourite was the one about a certain breed of gentleman who has a tendency to carry an acoustic guitar to parties in order to impress the ladies with his “heartbreakingly original” songs.

The show ran for just over 50 minutes and the appreciative audience are comfortably seated in a cabaret style (to which they kept having to add more tables and chairs after I took my picture as the room filled – word of Gabbi’s talent is clearly already spreading!) It’s a spacious room with an awesome sound system, a bar at the back of the room, and a little courtyard out the back for post-show relaxing. All in all, an excellent afternoon show with lovely music and well crafted lyrics from a confident and assured performer.

I Hope My Keyboard Doesn’t Break by Gabbi Bolt is on at The House of Oz

House of Oz – Venue 73 at Edinburgh Fringe 2022

By Lisa Clark

There is a new venue in old Edinburgh Town. The 2022 Edinburgh Festival sees the House of Oz pop in for a friendly visit. Hosting a dazzling variety of tasty Australian treats, from straight music, poetry and theatre performances, to cabaret and standup, it will celebrate the breadth of Australian talent, culture and creativity with a BBQ out the back featuring Aussie food, snacks, drinks and cocktails and a cafe with Melbourne style coffee and delicious lamingtons.

Comedians include:

Dolly Diamond who’s giving us a variety of goodies including Bosom Buddies (one of her guests last night was Rhys Nicholson so you never know who might pop up).

Garry Starr in the raucous Loose Unit.

Gabbi Bolt who was a breakout musical comedy star from this year’s Australian festival season in I Hope My Keyboard Doesn’t Break.

Geraldine Quinn doing her highly acclaimed Broad which was nominated for 2022 Best Show at Melbourne International Comedy Festival.

The Listies are doing a show based on Hamlet for kids: Prince of Skidmark and it will be for big kids too, no doubt.

A variety night called OzMosis: The Great Australian Variety Pack hosted by Dane Simpson.

The cherry on top of the Aussie Pav will be Die Roten Punkte’s Haus Party With Otto & Astrid, an outrageous alternative comedy/cabaret/circus showcase which is always a huge highlight at Melbourne International Comedy Festival.

There are two Venues: The Great Indoors and The Outback.
The Great Indoors is the Main Stage hosting most of the shows. It has a bar that’s open during shows and then Kicking On ’til late.

House of Oz is graced by a Sydney chef-in-residence David Lee who is co-curating the Taste Australia foodie events on Monday nights in The Great Indoors. Audiences can enjoy an immersive experience with artists like Reuben Kaye who will be celebrating their Russian-Jewish heritage through delicious food.

The Outback has an outdoor stage for shows such as kid’s shows and Dolly Diamond’s Hi T where she’ll be telling tales and singing songs while the audience tries not to snort their tea and lamingtons from laughing. The cafe is open during the day til 6pm.

The Outback Garden kitchen and Bar are open til 10pm.  BBQ meals include sausage sizzle, pizzas and some great veggie and vegan options. At the Bar, as well as the expected wines, spirits & beers you can buy four different flavours of BBQ shapes (£5 a box!) as well as £1 Caramello Koalas. There is a big jar of Vegemite on the bar – for using in cocktails… and you can get some stubbies of Bundaberg Ginger Beer.

There are comfy cushions and fairy lights along with the fabulous food, drink and world class festival shows at House of Oz, so it will, no doubt, be a gorgeous and fun place to hang out during August in Edinburgh.

You will find the House of Oz in the Kings Hall down near The Meadows. Visit for all the details about what’s happening in this delicious slice of Australia.

Australians at Edinburgh Fringe 2022

The 75th Edinburgh Fringe Festival begins this week and, after a bit of an enforced break, there will be a strong contingent of Australian acts (as well as Aussie Expats and adopted Aussies) back in Auld Reeky town raring to tread the boards again. Here is a list of those we could find along with any reviews we have previously written.

Our British Correspondent Ron will be seeing a whole slew of shows and reviewing them for us.

To all those performers in Edinburgh, Chookas from The Squirrels and have a wonderful Fringe.

Adam Knox, Luka Muller and Peter Jones – 3’s Comedy




Aboriginal Comedy Allstars (Sean Choolburra, Janty Blair, Kevin Kropinyeri and Jay Wymarra)




AC/DC: Australian Comedians / Dope Comedy (Hosted by Daniel Muggleton)




Adelaide vs Edinburgh: The Clash of the Fringes




Adults Only Magic Show (Sam Hume and Justin Williams)




Aidan Jones – Looking for Work





Aidan Jones – Taco





Alcohol Is Good For You





Alice Fraser: Chronos





Ange Lavoipierre: I’ve Got 99 Problems and Here’s an Exhaustive List of Them



The Anniversary (Claire Barthomew & Daniel Tobias)




Anthony Jeannot: The Middle Bit





An Aussie, African and Englishman Walk Into a Bar…




Beak: Cocktail Boys (previously part of Burger King Illuminati)





Best of Adelaide’s Fringe Comedy





A Bookish Comedy Show





Comedy Boxing





Comedy Hour: Prue Blake, Peter Jones and Sonia Di Iorio




Comedy Striptease (Hosted by Kyle Legacy)




Dan Rath: Cockroach Party





Dan Wills: Australia: A Whinging Pom’s Guide




Daniel Muggleton: Oh, More Mr White Guy?




Danielle Walker: Nostalgia

Here is what Bren Carruthers thought of it at MICF 2022:


David Boyle: Stranded





Dean Misdale: Life’s a Drag





Dolly Diamond’s Hi T





Dolly Diamond’s Bosom Buddies





Erin Fowler: EGG





The Eric Tinker Experience





Gabbi Bolt: I Hope My Keyboard Doesn’t Break




Garry Starr: Greece Lightning





George Dimarelos – 3am Brain





Geraldine Quinn: BROAD





Grant Busé: SentiMENTAL!





Haus Party with Otto & Astrid





He Huang : Crazy Broken Chinese





How to Converse





Matt Harvey : I Got Bit by a Monkey Once

Here’s what Peter Newling thought of this show at MICF 2019:


The Importance of Being Earnest as Performed by Three F*cking Queens and a Duck



Jimeoin: The Craic!





Josh Glanc: Vrooom Vrooom





Karen from Finance is Out of Office





Late Show Great Show (Featuring 3 mystery Australian comedians!)




Laura Davis: If This Is It





Liars and Clowns: A Late Night Comedy Show (Presented by Kyle Dolan)




Life Drawing With a Comedian





The Listies: Hamlet – Prince of Skidmark





Lloyd Langford: DILF





Maryellen : Call Me Me





Michelle Brasier: Average Bear

Here’s what Lisa Clark though of it at MICF 2022:


Mick Neven: Nevolution





Nikki Britton: One Small Step





Oliver Coleman: Sublime





Olivia McLeod: PASH





OZmosis: The Great Australian Variety Pack  (Hosted by Dane Simpson)




Randy Feltface: Alien of Extraordinary Ability




Ray Badran: Sweet Baby Ray





Reuben Kaye: The Butch is Back





Rhys Nicholson – Rhys! Rhys! Rhys!





Sam Campbell: Comedy Show





Sam Taunton: Yoho Diabolo





Tim Ogborne : The In-Laws





Tina del Twist: Caravan in the Sky





Tom Walker: Javelin





Troy Kinne : Live

5 Good reasons to see Gabbi Bolt: I Hope My Keyboard Doesn’t Break

1. It’s got music! This show is kinda like if my life to this point was condensed into 60 minutes of the world’s most chaotic mixtape. All original songs, composed and written by me! (with the help of a drum machine or two).But no dance numbers… actually scratch that, one dance number… bold to call it “dance” though…

2. PIANO! I know you’d think this would tie into point one, but the show is called I Hope My Keyboard Doesn’t Break so it feels weird not to mention that I also play piano. I’ve been playing piano since I was 5, though if you know anything about correct pianist technique you can definitely not tell. But anyway it’s big, it’s red, it’s heavy… actually does someone wanna be a roadie? It’s like, really heavy.

3. If you’ve ever enjoyed a pub lunch in a beer garden, rented/bought a house, had a kid (or actively chose not to), been harassed online, or just have otherwise given up trying to care about life two years into a pandemic, you’ll like this show. (I can’t really give context to this but just trust me.)

4. There is a bar, and you can drink very lovely drinks from it. And y’know what they say… It’s 5:30pm (my show is at 5:30pm) somewhere!

5. I’m coming from Sydney. So if nothing else, Melbourne locals should come just to pity me.

Gabbi Bolt Performs I Hope My Keyboard Doesn’t Break at The Butterfly Club