Dane Simpson & His Dad – The King and I

By Bren Carruthers

For anyone who has followed Dane Simpson’s career, this concept is perhaps something of an inevitability – stories about his dad, Bow, have been a pretty consistent staple of his material for years, almost placing Bow on a semi-mythical pillar. Now Bow finally hits the Big Smoke and takes the stage alongside Dane at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival in The King and I.

At its core, the show centres on the pair’s (ultimately brief) appearance on the celebrity version of The Amazing Race Australia, with a smattering of other anecdotes spinked into the set along the way. Bow, with a comfortable chair and prop crown, plays a role as part offsider, part heckler, part hijacker, throwing up tangents, curveballs and dad jokes as Dane alternates between performing and parent-wrangling. It makes for a charming, organic chemistry, spiked with a hint of danger – Bow’s anarchic approach and penchant for an off-colour joke or two has Dane on his toes throughout. It makes for a loose, silly and enjoyable show.

Bow’s ‘performance’ – perhaps not as a polished comedian, but certainly playing to the audience – is ultimately an emblem of classic Australian larrikinism: not the hypermasculine variant, with its cocksure bravado, but the kind of larrikinism that is deftly cheeky, wildly silly and in bold defiance of authority, a type of character that is relatable and appealing to both Indigenous and white/colonising Australians. Although many would identify the archetype as very characteristically Australian, it’s a rare phenomenon to see in a Melbourne Comedy Festival show in 2024, and by that token, certainly a refreshing and welcome one.

Perhaps the question now is what effect this show will have on Dane’s material into the future. With Bow now 70 and living in Lightning Ridge in remote New South Wales, and Dane with a newborn on the way, it’s more likely that performing as a pairing will be a novelty than a regular occurrence. It feels somewhat like it could be a watershed moment in Dane’s career: does he turn the page here and look to apply his storytelling style to fresh topics? Or perhaps the new addition to the family will inspire a whole different perspective on Dane and Bow’s relationship? With Dane’s natural, down-to-earth ease and charm, storytelling skill and eye for the ridiculous, there’s no doubt he’ll be a regular fixture of the national comedy scene for many years to come.

The King and I is on in the Acacia Room of the Victoria Hotel at 7:20pm (6:20pm Sundays, no Mondays) until the end of the festival.


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 https://www.houseofoz.co.uk/ 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: https://www.squirrelcomedy.com/?p=15297


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: https://www.squirrelcomedy.com/?p=13806


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: https://www.squirrelcomedy.com/?p=14941


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

Dane Simpson Didgeridoozy

Reviewed By Lisa Clark

If you are hoping for some didgeridoo playing along with the laughs, as his title may suggest, Dane is bringing it. Coming from winning The Adelaide Fringe Week 4 Award, it’s hard to believe that this is only his second solo Festival show. Dane is having a great time and wants to share the fun he is having with his audience

Dane from Wagga Wagga is a country boy in the city with a twinkle in his eyes and some cracking tales to tell. A lot of these involve his whacky dad who, in an alternative universe, might’ve been a standup himself. You can see where Dane’s comedic leanings came from. Dane is a brilliant storyteller who brings the characters in his stories to life with a delightful physicality that paints vivid pictures.

Dane is keen to share his Aboriginal culture with us and what better way is there than through funny story telling, music and dance? In Didgeridoozy there is a beautiful coming together of his Aboriginal entertainment tradition and his comedian entertainment tradition. His show made me think of the beginnings of modern standup in the folk scene where Billy Connolly was doing jokes between playing his banjo, singing serious and silly songs and the standup gradually took up more and more time.

The whole show was a reflection of Dane’s didgeridoo playing – his circular breathing, the bass notes grounding his work reflect the depths of his culture, permeating and supporting his comedy, while at the same time using his friendly upper notes to tell his silly stories about his dad and coming to terms with city life. Dane’s not a particularly political comedian but the politics of a proudly Aboriginal man are there. When he does impart the odd dark political joke it’s done with an impish grin, an adorable personality and some Groucho style side eye.

Didgeridoozy is an hour of warmth, cheekiness and joy.

Didgeridoozy is on at Trades Hall until April 24