Squirrel Comedy’s Recommended and Previously Reviewed Shows at Melbourne International Comedy Festival 2015

By Lisa Clark

Well the Squirrels are getting ruffled up and ready for autumn nut collecting. And comedy reviewing. There are soooo many shows on offer at the 2015 Melbourne International comedy Festival and it can be very difficult for us to see everything we want to see, let alone review everything we want to review. For those readers who are planning their Festival schedules and are in need of help, we have some good news: Squirrel Comedy has previously reviewed thirty of this year’s shows and we have laid out links to all those reviews below.


First Up here are some brilliant shows I previously saw & loved but Squirrel Comedy hasn’t reviewed.

I recommend you see:Claire Hooper School Camp

Claire Hooper’s School Camp

Claire takes us back to school days in a raw & truthful way where nostalgia takes some surprising and dark turns that make this show very special.


Celia Pacquola – Let Me Know How It All Works Out.

Celia’s show about fortune telling and her international lifestyle was another of Celia’s crowd-pleasing corkers.
Celia Pac Let me Know

Barry Nominated last year as word got around it was selling out like hotcakes, so if you weren’t lucky enough to see this gorgeous show better book now.


Denise Scott – Mother Bare

Denise deservedly won the Barry Award last year for her droll and often riotous reflections on motherhood and other aspects of her comedic life.Denise Scott Mother Bare pic

She’s only doing four shows this year at the fan friendly time of 4.30 Sundays, so get your tickets early.



And now for shows that we have previously reviewed.

Particular highlights this year that I can also recommend include:

Are You Afraid of the Dark by Watson Watson Afraid of the Dark

Watson’s funny and occasionally genuinely scary show is not for those with a nervous disposition or heart condition but my goodness it is a monstrous load of fun. It can only fit smallish audiences into the space at the Old Melbourne Gaol so book early, I hear the first week is booking out fast. Not surprising as this show won Best Comedy at the Melbourne Fringe Festival and considering it is site specific it is one you will have to come to Melbourne to see.


Bart Freebairn Ultra Power LordBart Freebairn pic

Bart is a comedian at the top of his game just waiting to be discovered by the mainstream. I get the joyful shivers when I see a stand up comedian reach a point where they can host a room and own it keeping everyone rolling with laughter non stop. Bart is there and I hope everyone loves Ultra Power Lord as much as I did at Fringe last year.


Bucket’s List by Sarah Collins starring Justin Kennedybuckets list

Buckets List is a whimsical, beautiful and of course very funny tale with a star turn by the amazing Justin Kennedy (who we just don’t see enough of on the circuit any more – I miss him, but if this is the sort of work he’s producing then I’ll forgive his absence). Justin is blessed with the ability to make an audience laugh without saying a word and when I see independent theatre this good I think our major theatre companies should have a good hard look at themselves.


Damian Callinan – The Lost WW1 Diary of Private Paddy CallinanPaddy Callinan

A perfect show for this anniversary of ANZAC it’s another comedy character tour de force by Damian where truth and tall tales blur with loads of laughs and a streak of darkness. The true spirit of the ANZAC is thoroughly celebrated.


We can’t wait to discover new exciting comedy at this year’s Melbourne International Comedy Festival  but meanwhile

Here’s the full list with links of those we reviewed earlier:

The 13–Storey Treehouse


Anthony Jeannot is Unaccept-a-bubble


Bart Freebairn: Ultra Power Lord


Clem Bastow – Escape From LA


Damian Callinan – The Lost WW1 Diary of Private Paddy Callinan


Dr Brown – Befrdfgth


Dylan Cole – The Moon in Me


Fancy Boy Variety Show


Faulty Towers – The Dining Experience


Geraldine Hickey – Listen Out For The Castanets


I Love Green Guide Letters Live


Justin Kennedy – Bucket’s List


Late Night Letters and Numbers


Lee Naimo – Finding Lee


Lisa-Skye’s Lovely Tea Party


The Little Dum Dum Club Live


Luke McGregor – I Worry That I Worry Too Much


Mark Butler – Grammar don’t matter on a first date


Political Asylum – Late Night Riot


Sam Rankin – Wake Up, Sheeple! (2.0)


The Sexy Detectives – Mono Logs


The Sound of Nazis


The Umbilical Brothers – KiDSHoW – Not Suitable for Children


Stuart Daulman is an Absolute Credit


Stew Walker – A Hard Day’s Night of Beatles Parodies


Gary Portenza: Apologies in Advance


Set List


Watson – Who’s Afraid of the Dark


World Record Show with Andy Matthews, Adam Knox and Dave Warneke


Zoe Coombs Marr – Dave



The Melbourne Fringe Festival Awards

By Lisa Clark

It’s the last Saturday night of Fringe so it must be Fringe Awards Night. We’re very pleased and excited to announce that the Winner of Best Comedy catagory is Watson for their comedy Horror show Who’s Afraid of The Dark which was set in Melbourne Gaol. Watson are mostly Tegan Higginbotham and Adam McKenzie, this time Liam Ryan also had a large role, then there was the large cast of ghastly ghouls…. Genuinely frightening and seriously funny. Well Done!!

Congratulations also go to the talented and hilarious Tessa Waters who’s show Womanz won Three awards! They were given by Brisbane Powerhouse, Adelaide Fringe and Perth World Fringe. Tessa developed this show while living overseas and it looks like more travel is on the cards.

More congratulations to all involved in Bucket’s List for winning the Tiki Tour Ready Award from Aukland. Esp to Sarah Collins,  Justin Kennedy and Rhys Auteri for their gorgeous, sweet and whimsical little show. Have fun in New Zealand!

Other related catagory congratulations go to  Bethany Simons and Peter de Jager who won Best Cabaret for their “original, hilarious and wonderfully honest” Reception the Musical.

We were also rapt to see the Courthouse Hotel win The Best Venue Award. We saw a lot of great comedy there over Fringe, and ate some yummy food.

Congratulations to all the winners and everyone who put their hearts and souls into giving us a fantastic 2014 Fringe Festival.

For More information about this year’s Award Winners checkout the Fringe Website


For current info check their twitter feed https://twitter.com/melbournefringe

Bucket’s List

By Lisa Clark

What a powerhouse pair; writer Sarah Collins who had packed houses of delighted choristers as writer/performer of last year’s wonderful Choir Girl and her partner gifted comic performer Justin Kennedy who can get a laugh from the smallest hand gesture or lifted brow. Last time they worked together was on the beautiful Donna and Damo which impressed me enormously at the time and this is in the same vein of heart-warming sweet romance, melancholy and laughs.

Although Justin as bucket salesman cum wedding DJ Buckets is the main character in the show, he is not alone. He mostly mimes to an ever present voice over provided warmly by Felix Nobis. Beside him is guitarist and singer Rhys Auteri who acts as a perfect low key foil to the effervescent Buckets while he provides a gorgeous acoustic score of well-known songs such as (The Bee Gees’) ‘Emotion’ and ‘Islands in the Stream’ and also plays Buckets’ best friend, a possum living in the tree outside his home. The other person making an appearance on stage is skilled puppeteer Jem Nicholas who does amazing things I can’t give away.

The story and style is reminiscent of a sentimental Daniel Kitson story show if he had actors on stage acting it out while he narrated. The Narrator here, Felix does a stunning job at interpreting Sarah’s quirky script and Sarah does a stunning job of evoking unseen characters and places, like all the people living around Buckets’ in his block of flats. It’s hard to talk about what happens without giving any of it away as part of the joy is discovering it as it all unfolds before you. Needless to say there are a lot of buckets on stage.

From the moment Justin Kennedy appears on stage the audience is captivated, Justin’s charm and charisma is dazzling and his comic miming skills are divine. The laughs, gasps and simpers from the audience are proof that he has us in the palms of his hands every moment he is on stage. There are no dull spots the story has you gripped from start to end, which could also be because of excellent balanced direction from Yvonne Virsik. Sound and lighting are also top notch.

Bucket’s List is a great show to take a date to, it’s very funny and sweet and everyone leaves grinning, feeling uplifted, warm and fuzzy. Don’t miss it.

 Buckets’ List is on at The North Melbourne Town Hall – Rehearsal Room at 9pm until October 4.



By Lisa Clark

This was a children’s comedy festival show commissioned by The Arts Centre and they couldn’t have picked a better bunch of people to put this together. Conceived and Directed by Laura Milke Garner the radio play veteran (Whodunnit live Radio plays, 3RRR & much more) and written by Kate McClennan (who’s also in Standard Double) with her esteemed ability to create comedy characters. It is performed by three of the most expressive comedy character actors in Australia; Justin Kennedy, last seen in the gorgeous romantic comedy Donna & Damo (2010), Lana Schwarz (actress /puppeteer, co-creator of Puppet Slam) and Xavier Micheledis (who’s solo show at MICF this year is Good Morning! but was also invited to perform with Rich Fulcher in Tiny Acts of Rebellion).  All brimming with charisma and joy they play multiple roles and are supported by the hardest working sound tech at the Festival, Brett Maverix, making all the amazing sound effects in the story, because this show is done in the style of an old fashioned radio play. Brett and his props take up half the stage!

All the kids (and I) are given a paper bag and a rubber glove to add their own special effects when asked. These and other sounds contributed by the audience, such as buzzing bees and gasps and dinosaurs, were signaled by large cards with pictures on them. This is all practiced at the outset giving us a taste of what is to come and making you wonder how a dinosaur is going to fit into the story. The story itself was about a brother and sister, Sam (Xavier) and  Maddy (Lana), forgetting their Dad’s birthday and then deciding to do up his shed into a music studio (which they name The Super Speedy Sound Shed)  before he gets home from work. For this they need to go down to the futuristic shopping centre guarded by a store security dog/donkey named Connie.

Justin Kennedy and his adorably rubbery face plays the story’s Narrator and acts as a sort of adult authority to the children who often gleefully ignore his advice to their peril. Justin also plays many of the shop keepers they meet such as Mr Sprodly Sprocket the spring salesman, funk singing Dizzy the musical instrument salesman and Mike of Mike’s Mics. Xavier’s other characters include the kids’ Dad Cyril, the farting flying baboon mirror salesman and Connie the dog/donkey. Lana is absolutely perfect as Maddie and also plays the shopping center announcer and Shirley the train driver. Meanwhile the sound effects guy is running all over the place creating farts with with a tube trumpet, vomit with a fishtank and jelly lumps, and a sound system with a theremin, he also had lots of bells, whistles, shoes to stomp, chains to rattle and glasses to tinkle. Then of course the kids got to join in at regular intervals when the big cardboard signs were held up.

There were a couple of tiny glitches with the first performance of such a complex piece that will be ironed out by these performers quick smart, no doubt. It will also improve as the performers become more familiar with the rather word heavy script and perform to each other and the audience more.  The important thing about it is that the kids were for the most part transfixed, becoming completely involved with what was going on throughout and enjoying the participation when it happened. This is an ambitious kids show put on by a swag of talented people who know how to make sure the adults will get a big kick out of it at the same time.

Super Speedy Sound Shed is only on for 5 shows – at the The Famous Spiegeltent at Arts Centre until Sunday April 7