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



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

By Hannah Frazer 

Mark Butler ran this grammar and love tutorial, bringing with him a book full of knowledge and experience (he actually has written a book). From misplaced apostrophes to double negatives. From possessive pro nouns to conjunctions, Butler is able to educate and entertain simultaneously.

He shares personal experience with dating, online and otherwise. He makes connections between his intense frustration with bad grammar and the imminent demise of his past relationships. He turns to the audience to find support and likeminded individuals. He gives specific examples of the bad grammar that he has observed with passed relationships, and asks if this would be an error we could move on from, even find endearing or if it would indeed be a deal breaker.

Butler takes a “show no mercy” approach to these past loves, with an attitude that could possibly be taken as arrogance. He asked for the audience’s input, it came as a maybe not so big surprise that we are possibly just as much grammar snobs as Butler. With the audiences general consensus that the much too commonly used ‘LOL’ (if not being used ironically) is not something that could be forgiven. Mistaking your and you’re and confusing the various ‘there’s’ was also up there with reasonable excuses to end a relationship before it got too far.

It is not only with past romantic liaisons that grammar gets a once over. Popular hits of the 80’s, 90’s and today also have a bright red marker taken to them. Songs, should you check out this show, you will not be able to enjoy the same way.

If you are a grammar geek, you will find a comrade in arms, a kindred spirit in Butler. If you are not, the idea that you learn something new every day will never feel so relevant. You will think you have experienced a thousand days when you will leave, educated and not able to speak a sentence again without mulling it over in your mind a million times. Or taking way too long to overlook text and email messages. Your finger will hover over that send button for what will seem like a lifetime. Your mind will become the internal editor you hadn’t yet locked into.

Again, whether you care about potential partners having a grasp on the English language or not, Butler makes the evening feel like you are having a casual drink with a good friend. Everyone comfortable enough in his presence to participate and even correct the tutor. Education made fun. Maybe we would all be better at the basics of our language had we had a fun and entertaining teacher like Butler.

Grammar don’t matter on a first date is on at The Court House Hotel in Nth Melbourne until October 5