The Breast of the Fest

By Jess Welch 

Breast of the Fest is an all-female, all the time show featuring the youngest and best emerging female comedians. With 6 rotating regulars and each show hosting a guest “breast”, you never quite know what you’re going to get. It’s a refreshing show, with each of the comics bringing something different to the evening, but all bringing more than a few laughs.

The performers I saw were MC Rose Bishop,  Aurelia St Clair, Avery Hutley, and Claire Hagan. While all the performers predictably touched on the material only a woman could perform, they make sure the night is inclusive. I was surprised at the number of men in the audience, and all seemed to be enjoying themselves just as much as the ladies. It’s fully inclusive and the cast is diverse, apart, of course, from gender. They all come from different backgrounds, and each stand up style is wildly different from the last. Perhaps not every performer will appeal to each viewer, but as with every shared show, the next performer is a fresh start. But I can’t say that any performer performed any better than any other and the audience seemed to enjoy them all equally.

The guest performers are women from around the festival, who will give you a little taste of their show or style. On this night it was Eve Ellenbogen who’s show is called Too Much. The show has played host to many of the biggest names in female comedy and the regulars are sure to one day be counted amongst their numbers. The raw talent is astounding, and I will be looking forward to seeing them all in their next shows. I hope one day to see them on our TV’s and playing the biggest stages in the country.

Whether you’re a woman, or just know women, this is a show well worth seeing.

The Breast of the Fest is on at Trades Hall  

Things We Found In The Swamp

By Colin Flaherty

A show about “Draining the Swamp” may set up expectations for a tale of sweeping governmental change ala Trump but, despite a little bit of political posturing and low level bureaucracy, this play saves its swamp analogy for the toxicity of keeping dark, personal secrets. Writers Rose Bishop and Elyce Phillips have created a wonderfully kooky world inhabited by some strange individuals who may appear somewhat normal on the surface but have some sliminess underneath, just like their beloved swamp.

The characters were a bunch of oddballs that were all played as broadly as possible. Lukas Quinn as Fergus the Public Servant was brilliant as the straight man reacting to all the weirdness going on around him with flair. Taylor Griffiths portrayed the dim witted dentist Lucy with wonderful naivety. The historian played by Millie Holten was note perfect exaggerated outrage and pedantry, even throwing in some great slapstick. Prue Blake as the Mayor was kooky enough as a self-obsessed sexual predator but not as bold or physical as you would expect from such a role. Pedro Cooray’s Spiritual Healer was given the least to do and his performance was a little shakey but his few words gave off a nice aloofness for such a shady character.

Setting this play in one location was a great move as it avoided any clumsy scene changes and allowed the action to flow in real time, keeping the laughs rolling as the strangeness escalated. A technical hiccup threatened to derail things but the bizarre nature of it fitted with this universe and the improvisational skills of the cast added some additional chuckles. The plot itself wasn’t particularly fast moving with plenty of witty circular conversation stalling the action but spouting many hilarious lines to keep us laughing. Each dirty secret reveal mainly served as a device for adding more jokes rather than raising the stakes. Lovers of straight theatre may grumble over the lack of character growth and consequences but this was essentially some fluffy fun with a bunch of kooky characters.

Things We Found In The Swamp is on at The Courthouse Hotel until September 16

5 Good reasons to See – Things We Found In The Swamp

1. We’ve done a bulk order of dildos off Wish for ‘art reasons’. No-one will believe us when we tell them it is for ‘art reasons’, but that is what they are for. Will they arrive in time? Come to the show to find out!

2. Speaking of being artists, we’ve done our utmost to make sure this show has enough bum jokes for everyone. How many bum jokes do you need a show to have in it in order to enjoy it? Five? Eight thousand? We haven’t counted but our show has an amount somewhere between those two numbers so hopefully you’ll be satisfied!

3. Our fabulous cast and director are all experienced improvisers who have helped us to develop our script. It’s been a true collaborative effort to cram as many jokes into this play as possible, and an utter joy.

4. The vibe of Things We Found In The Swamp has been described as ‘Parks and Rec meets Shrek’ and if you don’t think that sounds like fun you can get the hell out of my office.

5. Elyce and Rose are highly experienced at putting dumb jokes on stage. Elyce is a prolific writer and performer of sketch comedy, and Rose is a stand-up comedian. And now that they’ve joined forces to create a show for you they’ve become twice as funny, and twice as productive, and committed twice as many murders as before and it’s all your fault.

Things We Found In The Swamp by Rose Bishop and Elyce Phillips is on at Courthouse Hotel – The Jury Room from Sept 12 – 16


Breast of the Fest

By Hooi Khaw 

Breast of the Fest delivers on its pun, showcasing a delightful line up of hand-picked local female talent. Despite the gendered name of the show, there appeared to be an equal number of men in the audience enjoying the content equally.

Katherine Allen is the MC for the night, with a warm welcoming stage presence that sets the mood for the fun night ahead. Allen regales us with stories from her experiences with men, some of which have a bizarre almost surrealist feel. Using props to support an otherwise hard to believe story (because it is so ridiculously funny), Allen does a superb job of warming the stage and keeping the energy high for the other acts.

Donna Collins seems like an agile cat, in comic form; she deftly jumps from one idea to somewhere totally unexpected, keeping the audience in stiches. This is an art form, and Collins is an artist who makes something that is inherently difficult look effortless. She has perfected the slightly awkward stage persona, without compromising on presence. There is no discomfort in watching her, only joy.

Aurélia St Clair has a distinctive deadpan delivery that complements her edgy comedy. With as many surprise twists as Collins, a number of which resulted in groans from the audience, St Clair is not afraid to cross some boundaries. However, this suited the crowd who enjoyed her ability to turn a potentially heavy topic like race, into comedy.

Rose Bishop was next, sharing details and observations of her neuroses, her dating life, and the inner workings of her relationship with her father. Her astute observations were extremely relatable and perfectly balanced with a mixture of honesty, weirdness and humour.

Special breast, Geraldine Hickey, had the crowd onside from the moment she skulled her wine i.e. As soon as she walked on stage. As a seasoned performer Hickey has the ability to effortlessly riff on topics seemingly unprepared, advising that she had forgotten she was scheduled to perform that night. Hickey had the men in the room laughing the hardest at the female specific material.

A wonderful collection of rising talent to watch, with an extremely popular show that repeated sells out – get in early to buy tickets!

Breast of the Fest is on at Imperial Hotel – Tony Room