Fancy Boy Variety Show

By Colin Flaherty

There has been a lot a buzz about this show. Many have told about the wild, debauched exploits of its performers. It generated so much interest that extra late night shows were added to its limited week long run. The basic premise is of a variety show where anything can happen. The line ups are closely guarded secrets and tickets are sold with the warning “No Refunds.” Colour me intrigued!

The core cast comprised of John Campbell, Greg Larsen and Henry Stone who, along with special guests from the festival, portrayed the acts performing at this variety night from hell. We saw stand up from the “king of crowd work”, a piss-weak song parodist, a magical duo, an inappropriate song by Geraldine Hickey’s conservationist, a high tech clairvoyant, Jonathan Schuster in Singer/Songwriter mode and a Rock Eisteddfod entry.

A lot of shows and performers sell themselves as edgy or dangerous but this one comes damn close to fitting that bill. The all male cast makes for quite a testosterone filled hour with male nudity and frequent jokes about penises and bodily fluids. Some of it was a little repetitive but generally this was very clever smut that had the audience in stitches. It is certainly not for the faint hearted and we did lose a couple from the front row who found it all too much.

The variety show conceit provided a brilliant forum to cleverly ridicule all manner of acts who perform at the festival, making it perfect for comedy nerds and fellow performers who get off on this naughty meta humour. All the “acts” were ridiculous stereotypes of their genre or the worst examples who were portrayed beautifully in the short time we were with them; no unnecessary background was required to laugh at these pitiful souls who were thrown into this bear pit of a show.

Our host (played by Stuart Daulman) kept the show moving along at a cracking pace. The acts usually didn’t overstay their welcome after we had cottoned on to the joke, occasionally stopped short by the MC which was a great bit of scripting. It was something sketch troupes should take note of

If you’re not too prudish and up for a dangerous and filthy late night show this is an awesome choice. Make sure you get in early before all the comedians fill up the room.

Fancy Boy Variety Show is on at the Imperial Hotel at 12:15, Thursday to Saturday until April 18

These Kids are Good.

By Lisa Clark

It’s great to see a show where you get a taste of several performers, to give you an idea of what they are like and hopefully encourage you to see their solo shows. This one is six regular comedians, plus a guest, who do around five minutes each. If one doesn’t appeal, it won’t be long before you’re checking out the next one.

The comedians appearing in this show have been handpicked by affable host Tom Ward, most famously best friend of Josh Thomas in real life as well as playing the part in the TV series ‘Please Like Me.’ Tom is getting a fine reputation of his own in comedy circles and has chosen the kind of comedian that he enjoys and is unsurprisingly closest to his own and Josh’s style. So we get a line-up of six youngish gen Y bespectacled and/or bearded, smart, slightly awkward, gentle charmers doing a modern brand of observational humour and getting away with the occasional filth. These are not ‘angry young men’ (or woman) shouting about what boils their blood, they’re more likely to be bemused or annoyed about stuff.

Some of the performers though unknown have been treading the boards for a while and are pretty solid standups including the laid back Alasdair Tremblay-Birchall, cheeky Jonathan Schuster and ever delightful Neil Sinclair. Then there is Nellie White who’s been living away from Melbourne, in the UK and Perth for the past six years. She’s someone I’ve always admired for being very left of centre, if a little nervous in her delivery. She’s doing some filthy gear and it’s nice to have her back on the scene.

It’s lovely to discover new faces too like tonight’s guest comedian John Campbell (he had a MICF show last year, but is new to me) reading his annoyed letter about public transport and the confident Andy Matthews who is currently doing a double act in the festival with Tony Besselink

I’ve seen several of these comedians performing elsewhere and they’ve been refreshing in the line up and often even killed the room, but all together, I felt they needed some sort of contrast to add more balance to the hour. Still, if this style of comedy is what really rocks your boat, it’s a great way to see some appealing up and comers who are pretty good at it.

These Kids are Good is on at The Imperial Hotel