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 Moon In Me

By Lisa Clark

Dylan Cole decided on a powerpoint-supported Dave Gorman-style adventure for this self-imposed experiment, where he reads his Horoscope at the end of each day for a year and sees whether it reflects the events in his life. Unfortunately or fortunately he chose to follow the Murdoch Empire’s waffly wanker – ahem…sorry – “astrologist”: UK resident Jonathan Cainer to follow.

Calling Cainer a great astrologist is a bit like saying Bolt is a great journalist as Dylan soon discovers with columns repeated verbatim on different dates and occasionally making little sense. Dylan never questions Cainer’s abilities however and amusingly plows on with trying to relate the horoscopes to his own life experiences, blaming his own inadequacies when Cainer’s column fails him.

The floor is strewn with pages of newspaper reminding us of that old adage of yesterday’s newspaper becoming tomorrow’s birdcage lining. Dylan also has a few books lying about that were part of his failed attempt to learn the art of astrology. Not surprising as it would be like trying to quickly learn a new language and Dylan has been too busy. He’s had a pretty tumultuous year to deal with while going through this experiment and takes us through these life events and what Cainer’s column had to say about them at the time. He makes some interesting discoveries and has some amusing insight into human nature and his own.

Dylan Cole is an engaging, humorous storyteller and has written a sweet and funny show about personal discovery with astrology as an over arcing theme if you will. This is not really the show to come to if you are keen on or want to learn anything about astrology or even if you want to see it thoroughly debunked and vilified. Dylan does however provide some insight and pokes gentle fun at horoscopes and people who take it too seriously.

The Moon In Me is on at The Tuxedo Cat at 9:45pm until September 28


Wizard Sandwiches : The Last Lunch

By Alanta Colley

This sketch comedy quintet, consisting of Stuart Daulman, Dylan Cole, Jarryd Clifford, Andrew Belsten and Jake Ludowyke breathe new life into a well populated genre with their particular brand of silly, frantic and charming sketch comedy.
Things started off a little touch and go, with fears that the sketch troupe were going to rely on tired old cultural stereotype tropes of various nationalities; Mexicans, French, Scottish, etc. for laughs. And while these caricatures did form a substantial part of the show’s content the performers do manage to transcend predictability and add new depth, character and surprises to them.

There are many highlights throughout this show. The scene where a stick transforms in the hand of the performer into all manner of objects was absolutely mesmerising; proving high-tech props aren’t necessary to capture the imaginations of the audience. There are some fantastically complex displays of word play that grow ever more ludicrous as they carry on, and are a testament to the preparation put in by the performers.

While the rules and regulations of how sketch must be enacted seem almost set in stone Wizard Sandwiches do bring several new items to the table. The method by which they merge one sketch into the next created a fun intertextuality between sketches; displayed skill of the performers in switching seamlessly between characters, and created a second or two of delightful confusion for the audience as they grew familiar with this new technique.

The crew complement each other nicely; each bringing a distinct persona to proceedings with no one member dominating time or focus across the performance. The constant revolution between characters kept the plot fresh and the audience engaged.

Following in the fine footsteps of tradition of Monty Python and the Goodies, but not as absurd or confronting as League of Gentleman or Tim and Eric, you’re guaranteed a night of fun, frivolous and frenzied comedy.

The Last Lunch is on at Trades Hall – The Music Room until April 20

The Wizard Sandwiches – The Last Lunch

By Elyce Phillips 

The Wizard Sandwiches (Andrew Belsten, Jarryd Clifford, Dylan Cole, Stuart Daulman and Jake Ludowyke) have hit the nail on the head once again with their latest offering, ‘The Last Lunch’ – a fantastically absurd hour of new sketches.

These guys get sketch comedy. In a genre that can be a bit hit and miss, you can really tell The Wizard Sandwiches have really put effort into honing their creations and shaping them into a show. Each scene blends seamlessly with the next, even when they are moving from a plane to the beach to a dental office. It’s that sort of finesse that makes the show feel polished, even with the cardboard prop tacos.  As the gents point out in their Fringe blurb, there is no plot, but the show still feels structured. There are some great threads that run through the piece, getting funnier each time they are recalled. The sketches are inventive and well-paced, and you rarely see the punch line coming, largely because the endings are so bizarre.

A particular stand-out was a wordless sketch of Clifford’s, creating some great stuff using only a stick and some well-timed sound effects. It’s a simple idea, but executed brilliantly. However all of the performers are really strong. Everyone has a comedic approach that’s a little bit different, so they work beautifully as a team. The guys create a playful atmosphere that really draws in the audience.

‘The Last Lunch’ is very silly, sometimes surreal and a whole lot of fun. The Wizard Sandwiches are clearly developing their craft with each show they put on, and I can’t wait to see what’s next.

The Wizard Sandwiches – ‘The Last Lunch’ is showing at the Fringe Hub – Meeting Room at the NorthMelbourneTown Hall.


5 Good Reasons to see Dylan Cole in Safety First

Here are my 5 Good Reasons to see Safety First

1. It makes fun of the mediocre training instructors, seminars & courses seen frequently in everybody’s working life.

2. There is a tea break in the middle of the show – with Arnott’s Assorted Creams – that’s right, creams, not the cheap stuff.

3. You might learn something that could save your life.

4. Try and pick up all the subtle film references – 10 points & chocolate if you can name them all

5. You get a kick-arse certificate at the end, which is sure to impress any potential employee/suitor.


Sounds like a great show to take your office colleagues to, and you get a bickie!

Dylan Cole will be performing Safety First at The Tuxedo Cat – The Puffer Fish B at 7pm.


NED: Ideas you’ll never have

By Colin Flaherty

In this one man character showcase, Dylan Cole presented a parody of the conference series and website NED which aims to “spread ideas” through 15 minute presentations from individuals, usually experts in their field, on a wide range of topics. The poster for the show even mimics the TED Homepage with a collection of bizzare topics accompanying the video links.

The first speaker to take the stage was Dr John Hatzenberger, a dishevelled Academic who got quite flustered while essentially not saying very much. He had an interesting way of de-constructing the NED Speech Format during his spot; an ideal aid for the audience to become acclimatised to the shows’ structure. His ability to pad the speech with highly detailed talk of his procrastination was a delight and his inclusion of random often irrelevant quotes to make a point was inspired lunacy.

Next on the stage was Joel Ham, apparently a Buddist Monk whose talk was sponsored by a very un-Buddist company. He posed unending rhetorical questions and talked in infinite circles about contentment and choice. A clever and amusing visual demonstration left no one in the audience any wiser as to his point. This character was a little one note, a Monk talking in riddles at varying volume levels, but was enjoyable nonetheless.

The last was Prof. Jeffery De Hollander, a very plastic personality who laughed in finite doses at his own obligatory jokes. His topic was Creating the Creation of Creativity and included clever visuals of famous artworks to relate to a hypothetical person to illustrate his points. Some wonderfully bizzare facts and figures were spouted to poke fun at his credibility. Although this segment started out strongly with many witty lines peppered throughout, it ended on a rather serious note which was an odd way to conclude a show.

All the characters were fleshed out well, costumed simply but effectively, given brilliantly absurd biographies and displayed appropriate extreme mannerisms. A running joke involving a sequence of images suggested the presence of recurring tropes in these types of speeches and pushed it to the extreme.

The decision to concentrate on motivational topics rather than the scientific gave him enough ammunition to attack such self righteous, agenda pushing types. I haven’t explored the TED website enough to determine whether such characters are in the majority in this arena, but they were fascinating personas and it was fun to witness them being taken down a peg or two. This was an interesting concept for a comedy show which delivered plenty of laughs.

NED: Ideas you’ll never have is playing at Trades Hall – The Annexe until October 13.
For booking details visit the Fringe Festival website http://www.melbournefringe.com.au/fringe-festival/show/ned-ideas-you-ll-never-have/