by Hooi Khaw
Bob Franklin – Yours Sincerely seems to be Bob Franklin’s thinly veiled criticism of a certain fellow comedian. Although Franklin plays a narcissistic version of himself, people in the know might recognise this show as a personal shot at a particular old school Australian comedian, hinting at a tumultuous relationship between them both.
Without knowing the detailed history of their relationship or the comedian in question, the audience is still able to enjoy Franklin’s work as a character piece. Franklin gleefully satirises the absurdity of this warped perspective which has his character victimising himself in bad situations that he has caused. Franklin portrays someone who is falsely taking ownership of past actions, in order to forward their own agenda. This has the impact of making the audience question the authenticity of this story of redemption that this character is trying to sell us, which we assume is Franklin’s intention.
If you’ve read memoirs by the artist that this show is satirising, it’s easy to see truth in Franklin’s critiques, making it easier to see the comedy in what Franklin is presenting. The fact that Franklin owns these as his character’s point of view only enhances this. However, there were definitely splits in the audience of people who were laughing because they understood the context behind a particular joke, versus other members who were enjoying it on a more superficial level.
Yours Sincerely represents a layered work, which audiences will enjoy on different levels according to their background knowledge of how and why this show was made. If you have very little context, you can still enjoy this as a character piece because the jokes are so well crafted, and it is brilliantly performed. If you’re better informed about the comedian in question and his history, you are able to access an additional level of appreciation for this work, but there is a frequent sense of “missing the joke” for the rest of us.
Bob Franklin – Yours Sincerely is on at Courthouse Hotel – The Jury Room.
1. Supporting a strong female voice in comedy
2. The content is thought provoking and real
3. Because it’s a damn funny show and you will have a great time
4. The smug satisfaction of discovering a new talent before they get big
5. Because Melbourne is the cultural centre of Australia and supporting the arts is a good thing to do
Angela Green performs Media Madness at Campari House on April 13 & 14
By Lisa Clark
What a stunning show! Sami Shah is a born comedian, unfortunately he was born in a part of the world that’s not very conducive to a satirical comedy career. Lucky for us he’s moved to Australia. Islamofarcist – Putting the “Ha” in “Jihad” tells us how this came to be, via lessons about Islam, Pakistan and the importance of Baywatch.
Sami seems to have arrived on Melbourne stages a fully-fledged, world class, comedy star. Sami has actually had an amazing life thus far. He started in impro in Pakistan which is surprising enough, but that he’s only really been throwing himself into a comedy career in Australia since 2012 is hard to believe. Since then he has appeared on QI, created a BBC4 radio series and has had a book about his life published. These things are less surprising when he starts doing his comedy for you.
He begins by taking an everyday popular meme about religion and intricately dissects it with comedy and pretty quickly has the audience in the palm of his hand. The information he gives us about Pakistan, Islam and, for example, the difference between Sunni and Shiite turns out to be funnier than you’d think and should also probably be considered a bit of a public service. It’ll have you laughing your butt off, but you get to learn stuff too.
ISLAMOFARCIST is political without really going into politics, it’s about religion without being preachy, about ideals while remaining down to earth and it’s actually quite dangerous. Sami could be killed for this show in some parts of the world. Not surprising that he lives here then and lucky us.
If you have a hankering for intelligent, yet accessible, comedy from a warm, talented comedian who knows what the hell he’s talking about, go see Sami at Fringe, ISLAMOFARCIST is everything Fringe should be and more.
Sami Shah performs ISLAMOFARCIST Putting the “Ha” in “Jihad” at The Lithuanian Club til Oct 1st
By Elyce Phillips
Dave Callan has returned to Melbourne Fringe with the third and final instalment of his dance trilogy. It’s an uplifting hour of cheesy pop, unbridled enthusiasm and infectious energy. The festival might not be over yet, but seeing A Little Less Conversation 3 has got to be the most fun you can have at the Fringe.
In this new show, Callan once again takes the audience on a musical journey from the beginning of time through to today, performing dances to some classic hits that he missed in the first two rounds. The dance medleys are broken up with stand-up, some FAQs and some fantastically funny videos that Callan has put together. As a special preview show treat, Callan also performed Beyonce’s Single Ladies dance in its entirety as an extra finale, which was truly a sight to behold.
This may be the third instalment of Callan’s dance-themed shows, but there’s still tremendous comedic value in seeing this wizard-viking shake his booty to the likes of Britney Spears and T-Swift. Callan’s back-up dancers (Jess Quinn and Emma Russell) are wonderful performers in their own right, and act as a choreographic foil to Callan’s occasionally fumbled moves. There’s an array of dazzling and ill-fitting costumes and some gloriously ridiculous props. The amount of work that has gone into this show is really impressive, and you can see that all three performers are giving it their all on the stage. By the end, Callan appears to be almost entirely composed of sweat and glitter.
A Little Less Conversation 3 is a show that leaves you with joy in your heart and a dance in your step as you walk out. It’s a whole-hearted celebration of pop culture, in all its weird and wonderful glory.
A Little Less Conversation 3 is on at the Fringe Hub – Ballroom until October 3
By Colin Flaherty
Rama Nicholas presented another gothic comedy tour de force, this time exploring the golden age of horror novels. It had lots of laughs, plentiful drama and many buckles to swash.
The script tended to focus on drama and action as opposed to out and out comedy. Things got a little sombre at times, enough to create the perfect mix of lightness and dark as our hero went on a physical journey as well as a personal one with a moral lesson to be learnt, just like all the best adventure tales. It wasn’t dour drama, there were enough witty asides to the audience, comic relief from the supporting characters, ribald quips from our lady monster hunter and interludes from an unhinged narrator to provide laughs when we weren’t on the edge of our seats.
It was interesting to see how many real life characters from that era’s horror literary scene were included in this fantastical tale. Their identities were clearly signposted from the outset so there were no great surprises with regards to a number of the jokes and plot points, particularly if you are well versed in these writers. Fear not, there were plenty of other twists and turns to keep us guessing and gasping as they were revealed.
There was a little bit of audience interaction with us collectively acting as Percy the Poet’s muse to compose a poem. This doesn’t really affect the show in any significant way but depending on the suggestions this could add humour to the show or simply be a lovely bit of verse.
On a bare stage, save for an easel, Nicholas plays all the characters, flitting between each using nothing more than gestures and voices to distinguish each. She does a brilliant job, ensuring that you don’t get too confused when more than two characters are interacting. We even get a taste of her beautiful singing voice as part of a dream sequence. Perfect lighting and musical cues were the cherry on top.
Nicholas has once again produced a show that will have everyone raving and deservedly so. It was a wonderful performance by a consummate performer.
Mary Weather’s Monsters is on at the North Melbourne Town Hall until October 3rd
By Noel Kelso
I arrived at the Greek Centre ahead of time because I’m a Scientist and if you’re in Science and don’t come somewhere on the OCD spectrum, you’re in the wrong profession.
The new venue is spacious and modern and it’ll be interesting to see how shows perform there. The presentation itself was MC’ed by Effie who was interrupted almost immediately by Puddles the Clown who sang a haunting tune and toyed with assembled throng before scarpering.
We were then entertained by Ongals from South Korea – a clowning troupe with a nice line in juvenile humour. They were followed by the serious people involved with MICF – Susan Provan, Mayor Robert Doyle and Minister for Creative Arts Martin Foley, all of whom thanked the contributors and attendees of the festival and talked-up the expanded nature this year. Martin Foley also managed to demonstrate that Politics is one of the oldest forms of comedy with a few amusing lines of his own.
To get us all through this there were drinks supplied and nibbles – including dolmades and fetta parcels.
As this will be my fifth and possibly last MICF, I have every intention of seeing as many of the 550 shows as my bank balance and stamina will allow.
Let the laughter begin!
The 2015 Melbourne International Comedy Festival runs from 25th March until 19th April. The full programme can be found at www.comedyfestival.com.au