Category Archives: Comedy

Comic Maverick and Ideas Man

This Charming Man, the very affable Matt Stewart draws in a full house as he gives a ‘Dry’ dose of ‘Very Dry’ at The Chinese Museum in Chinatown. He has taken his routine out of The Fringe and into the Melbourne International Comedy Festival, for a fresh round of laughs.

Getting to the venue is half the adventure, up the street hustle of Chinatown and into the historic site that sets the tone for the nights event. Stewart is unassuming, able to ‘break your guard’ whist never pouncing..

IMG_8442

The key to his art is his unflinching delivery as he stares into the bright lights that veil the audience. He promises to give ‘A pretty Good Show ‘ It’s most likely one of the top ‘Pretty Good Shows’ on the circuit.

Even though Matt’s not your mate, he could be. With comic cool he creates a friendly rapport as he spins absurd Aussie tales and butters it with wacky wisdom. He is edgy with a blunt delivery. ,

As a Caped Crusader, Stewarts superpower is to engage, indulge and transfix.

IMG_8429
‘Pretty Dry’ : CHINESE MUSEUM Mar 30- Apr 23 8.30pm

3 Mates & a glass of wine at MICF

The MICF Show is in town and Three Course Comedy is the show-bag of comic treats. Each night 3 Comedians take the stage to give you a sample size dish of their material. It’s a great way to be exposed to a range of comic styles, with a line up that changes each night.

MP went to the very ambient Fort Delta Gallery  in Howey Place to be amused by Tim Hewitt, Adam Knox and Michael Shafer

Tim Hewitt warms up the Crowd, as first up in ‘Three Course’ line-up.

IMG_8400

Hewitt is soaking in the City culture of MICF after doing the ‘hard yards’ in the parochial wilderness of Pokies Den’s and Greyhounds. The comics life may be rich in experience but it may not afford holidays to remote islands with Supermodels. There are compromises.

Hewitt has a personal warmth that endears the crowd, his suburban tales ‘touch a nerve’ and there are outbursts of laughter throughout the room.

With two comedians to follow, the routine manoeuvres speedily through his visual landscapes.

Also performing ‘Comedy Zone’ on the MICF circuit.

‘Knoxie’ is next

IMG_8405

Knox brings a mix of cultural anomalies to his performance wrapping his clever wit around some pearls of insight. He wavers between action, concern and an offhand remarks. He establishes an instant rapport with the audience before entering his comfort zone, once there, he opens up to the deeper issues that concern him, like a mate does.

Knox is also a part of Chimp Cop Forever

Michael Shafer

IMG_8410

Shafer breaks away from his sellout solo performance Jewis-ish to join his mates in this 3 course round-up. His routine is a bite sized, sped up sample of what audiences can expect to hear at the full show. Shafer continues to polish his work with diligent effort, comedy is not a vacation it’s his vocation.

Shafer manages to lead the course through the choppy waves of perception and throws out a line to the women in the audience, those that may be floundering in the male shallows.

Captain Australia

Melbourne Fringe 2016

Matt Stewart is ‘DRY’ at the Courthouse.

In the small ‘Attic’ of the Courthouse Hotel, Stewart warms up the crowd with off-beat humour and cultural observations.

He quickly builds a strong rapport with the audience. The jokes are uniquely Australian and as the room laughed loudly throughout the performance; a couple of overseas visitors looked on perplexed. His humour  is based on shared experiences that create a ‘party’ experience, as everybody ‘is in’ on the joke.

Stewart’s ‘lay-back’ demeanour and monotone delivery puts the crowd at ease, as his eyes search out his next sidekick. He opens the floor and allows a degree of improv, exacting sharp timing as he tosses a clever slip of irony back into the fold.

No Aussie performance can ignore the ‘heart of darkness’ of our vast continent and he does touch of some uncomfortable satire which is inserted between playful wit. He is a genuine comic, the type that other comedians would go to watch.

You will laugh so hard that your face will ache.

 

“I like him in general; his tone, the dryness, the way he comes across…his delivery” Mike Barnes Comedian*

 

Matt Stewart ; 2014 Raw Comedy Winner            At the Courthouse Hotel, Nth Melb

Sept 26 -Oct 2

Review by A Forward

*Mike Barnes; Comedian and Manager of The Tickle Pit (Melbourne Fringe) @ Fancy Hank’s  

I did it my way

Simon Taylor does a ‘bunch of cool stuff’ at the Butterfly Club on a crisp winters night. His CV sums up the order of things.

image

  • Born
  • 5 years old: Elvis impersonator    
  • 12 years old: break dancer
  • 18 years old: rapper
  • 19 years old: poet
  • 20 years old: magician
  • 21 years old: improviser
  • 22 years old: comedian
  • 27 years old: singer
  • Present: all of the above

No-one can look so sorted in a suit without a stylist to flat lay his wardrobe.

“A lot of my craft as an entertainer came from doing shows at The Butterfly Club. It’s where I learned to connect with an audience. It’s where I learned to present myself as a showman. It’s where I learned to be grateful to the people who helped make the show possible. It’s where I learned to be humble. It’s also where I discovered that I look AMAZING in a suit.”

He is a gentleman comedian who can pull ‘a’ Dove out of thin air. A warmth emanates throughout the performance, a romantic with an edge.

image

What are your thoughts on the medium of comedy, is it to carry a deeper exploration of society or do you prefer the wacky? MP

“Neither. I just like to induce the chemicals in people’s brains that make them feel happy.”

This is what Simon does. In a cynical world he is not; so much.

Simon is a ‘stand-up’ that takes the audience into the intimacy of his daily life. Simon is a singer with a great voice. Simon is a very clever magician. Simon is a poet hoping to evoke. I don’t think Simon can rap or breakdance as it wasn’t in the show, but Simon said he could.

image

 

 

 

 

I (honestly) love you.

I (honestly) Love You at The National 

REVIEW

Have you ever been on a date from Hell and loved it?

image

There are three members in this relationship, him her and the ‘vicious truth’. The great accident of love has a few battles to get through, before the home run. The first awkward encounter is to meet the parents and then the friends. 

The show digs into the trenches, of love for the long-term, despite its personal cost. 

“She plays netball …I have to go to every F******* game”

image

The play explores the sharp cut of truth in a dishonest world. How can we hold down a relationship or job, if the real shatters our delusions? It’s a clever script that breaks down the comfort zones, with large slaps of humour.

“It was very entertaining, the humour was quite witty and unpredictable….I laughed most of the way through it” John (audience)

“I loved the energy that the actors had, the sound effects, audience involvement and the six part bit.” Gilly (audience)  

“An interesting insight into relationships and how hard we try to make everyone around us happy when in doing so it actually makes everyone, including ourselves unhappy ……interesting.” Alannah (audience)


Interview with Damon Lockwood.

Screen Shot 2016-03-25 at 4.22.01 PM

“I wondered if being able to tell the truth to your partner at all times would be the answer to the perfect relationship, and this play is the result.”

What keeps you honest (honestly)? MP

‘The new app that allows my partner to know where I am at all times, by where my phone is at. Once again, thank you technology.’

Why did you choose this show? What’s the story behind it?

‘I didn’t go to the best of schools as a child, so when I ran into an old school friend and he reminded me of a truly filthy joke we used to tell each other in Grade 4, something about Pinocchio being honest in the toy box, the idea for the play sprang into my head and the script flowed out of me. Crappy education has given me so much…’

What is your main talent? MP

‘I keep striving to make my main talent writing …you can’t polish a turd’… delightful, but so apt when it comes to creating great theatre. So I am saying I would like writing to be my main talent but it really is a life-long path.

Also, I make a seriously good omelette.

What are the ingredients to a great show?

A good script helps a lot, like, a lot. For me, a show that deeply considers the audience’s enjoyment and not just their ‘luck’ at witnessing some supposed brilliance on stage I feel is also important. Great actors don’t hurt either, and did I say a great script I think is really important?’

What impressed you about the Edinburgh Festival?

‘The sheer scale of the thing was redonkulous, but the Perth Fringe Guide is beginning to have eerily similar weight and look to it as the Edinburgh one.

The energy on the back streets is electrifying. The main press event was hilarious, where you line up for an hour and a half to speak to a journalist for three minutes who already has tickets to La Soiree on the one night they might have been able to come to your show.

It’s true, Scottish people truly are waterproof – they can stand in the rain and simply not get wet! Survival mutation born from centuries of damp weather, I guess.

What do you imagine your future to be? MP

Man, that is a heck of a question! Seeing as there are no jobs in the theatre in Perth … then I’m pretty excited about a long career in bus driving. And I’ll always write, I think, I do love the endless bloody tangle with the blank page and those concrete words that sometimes glow.

What keeps you motivated? MP

‘I think the joy I receive creating work that allows audiences to witness other great actors ply their trade is very rewarding. There are so many talented actors out there who through bad timing or sheer dire fate don’t get the opportunities they deserve. At least this way I am able to give them an impressive 11% cut of the door takings’

What are the ingredients for a great relationship?

image

‘… in all extreme  likelihood I will never be a relationships counsellor, I would say… who knows?

Maybe a couple that complement each other perhaps, so that between the two of you there’s a fighting chance you may have all the aspects of this life thing somewhat covered (like I do all the cooking and cleaning and gardening and my partner can answer the door when there’s some delivery guy there that I can’t handle making small talk with)?

And great sex. Oh, and honesty! Of course, yes, honesty, on all things… some things… on some most things… … … sometimes…’

Screen Shot 2016-03-25 at 4.22.01 PM

I (honestly) Love You has played at Edinburgh Fringe and New York Fringe achieving great reviews. The show has Melbourne actors, Jimmy James Eaton and George Gayler in the lead roles with Damon Lockwood is the playwright and director (his show HorseHead was on at La Mama in 2014).

Venue: The National Theatre

image

 

13 – 16 April 2016
7.30pm
Tickets: $25
Bookings: http://www.nationaltheatre.org.au

 

 

 

 

 

For those born in the 80’s, Annie’s time warp.

PEE STICK, performed at the Butterfly Club

REVIEW

Annie is 50% pregnant, she is in the marginal world of maybe and maybe not. There is nothing to do but wait the 45 minutes for the Pee Stick verdict. The audience waits with her.

image

It is the human drama that most women have had to consider. Am I pregnant?

For a single girl in the 80’s, it’s a scandal; a proactive modern girls entitlement; a workplace misfit or life on the park bench. Annie chooses to rise above the difficulties and doubts. There is no going home. This timid soul  is about to embark on a life journey.

Carly Milroy handles the subject matter in a comic but gracious performance. The little girl attitude of the young woman she plays, fits the 80’s mould of women, that have gained meagre progress, and ‘bit off more than they can chew’.

The Artist tackles a historic piece and succeeds in capturing a time before she was born. The working woman, that time juggles children in the our modern climate, and takes up kick boxing; is a far cry away from the 80’s girl, that protested for basic rights.

image

“There is nothing I wont get right as a parent ….. I have no idea what I am doing …. but we’ll work it out.”

It was a fun journey, and she has a beautiful singing voice.

3 Course Comedy

Three Comics, Michael Shafar,  Sam Taunton and Tim Hewitt fought it out for top laughs, from the high-spirited audience at the Butterfly Club. Their latest serving, 3 Course Comedy, was a solid bill of entertainment.

Sam

image

Gave a stoic monologue of rich comic content that evoked waves of laughter. Like a conjurer with a steady glance, he drew soul out of his poor experiences. With an unshakable confidence, he held the crowd and watched the sets come in.

Michael

image

Poked the audience with the long arm of justice, pointing out the absurd and ridiculous. The crowd shared the intimacy of humanity and laughed in unison. The night was  hotting up.

Tim

image

Hewitt burst forth with frenzied energy, as he bore through the tatters of his desperate existence. He takes the full crowd on an emotional journey and binds tragedy with hysterical farce.

A Snippet of the Fringe

Three Artists, three stages, 3 fabulous hours

‘Existentialism the uniqueness and isolation of the individual experience in a hostile or indifferent universe, regards human existence as unexplainable, and stresses freedom of choice and responsibility for the consequences of one’s acts.’

THE PERFORMANCE

SAUCE

image

Simon Godfrey’s Dadaistic comedy is a complex ,high energy, minimalist work, marked by the absurd.

“Let us take the rest of Ukraine”

There are over a dozen characters in Simon Godfrey’s ‘Sauce’, each distinctive and brilliantly performed, in his one-man show. He needs nothing more than his imagination to bewitch. Godfrey turns a condiment into a high stakes adventure. He is a force.

 GENDER SPANNER

image

If you can fix a pipe are you an old man or a little girl? Jessica McKerlie ‘throws a spanner’ into gender prejudice. What defines our sexuality, is it our body or our mind? Can a woman who believes she is a man become a transsexual? McKerlie challenges the status quo of being, in a solo show. It’s an exploration into our humanity, told with tricks and slips.

“Don’t confuse my sex with my gender”

Her eyes flash into the souls of the audience as she keeps them tittering on the edge.

“Thank you for letting me label you.”

DEAR DIARY

image

Andi Snelling got a standing applause for her solo performance, as a girl growing through the banal experiences that ‘rocked her world’. The witty script compounded a couple of decades with multi-media and song, whist exploring the philosophy of time and self. Snelling mocked the self-indulgence of the autobiography, that the audience related to, with bursts of laughter.

“Guess what? I found four dollars at Timezone!”

It was a beautifully crafted work, packed with clever charm and brilliant timing.

Songs & Legends

27 Club

IMG_3806

Five minutes into the 27 Club and pure pleasure has melted the cold and tired, of the winter night. Zack Anthony Curran, Keane Fletcher and Andrew Kroenert are a trio of unearthly talent. Each rising star is gifted with a voice that resonates with the complexities unique to Joplin, Winehouse, Cobain, Hendrix and Morrison. Even ‘Jimi’ plays a mean guitar.

IMG_3802The lighting is low to blur the division of space and time. Music greats are resurrected for a final concert at the Butterfly Club. The full audience cheer through the dark atmosphere and there is a vitality within the gloom of deaths dreary fate.

We are taken on a tour into the past through layers of visual and sound texture. The vocal range is staggering and those privileged to see the show were treated to a fully packed hour of entertainment. Although the songs showcased their voices, it seemed that there was still ‘more in the tank’.

IMG_3747

Mackenzie Spencer & Andrew Strano

IMG_3831

“I’m a story junkie, I think it’s the way that we communicate our experience as humans.”

Before heading to London, Australian songwriters  Strano and  McKenzie Spencer showcased their concert at Chapel off Chapel with a line up of singers including, Fem Belling (West End) , Mike McLeish (Keating) and backing musicians.

Next stop is The Edinburgh Fringe to perform and then onto clown school at École de Gaulier in Paris. As a writer and lyricist  Andrew Strano did a cabaret double act for a few years, parodying existing musical theatre numbers.

“He churned them out about once a week for a year for a live TV spot. That his boot camp”.

Strano enjoys the feed back of a team. His contemporary style of slapping down the lyrics with artistic haste and intuition before polishing it, into a tight, clear honest work allows him to play writer and editor.IMG_3832

“People only get to hear a lyrics once. It’s not like poetry, where you can take another sip of your cognac and swill the words around in your mouth as you read and re-read them. They have to be understood on the first listen.”

The audience chuckle and giggle, the line up and presentation would appear formal and professional, if the sound was turned off one would imagine the audience to be listening to the classics. In truth, it’s a tale about a cheap ticket on Tiger Airlines that comes with unlimited complications, all of them hysterical and relatable.

‘There is no need to join the mile high club because they will f### you right here, on the ground’ (sung beautifully)

“My favourite bit of writing is that initial rush after having the idea where you beat out the song, knowing where it starts and where you want to finish, placing the building blocks. Where you put the puzzle in place – plotting all of the boxes running down and across. After that, you start building up the clues for your crossword puzzle – brainstorming. Every single idea should go down on paper free and easy with no desire for perfection.IMG_3827

The hard bit comes after that. The nitty-gritty of actually fitting the clues you brainstormed into the structure you created

I go nuts for the structure! I love it!”

The show is a tasty serve of life told with heart and humour, very Monty Python,

‘Always look on the bright side of Life’.

Legends

IMG_3748

‘Legends is a rolling comedy medley, juxtaposing traditional themes and stories with modern day realities, highlighting the irony that is human behaviour and beliefs.It was an eclectic performance that perfectly suited its venue with a smooth transition from skit to skit, character to character”

Jess Terry

‘Lets find 50 reasons to stay with your lover.

Do you support each other? Laugh at eachothers jokes? Create children? Enjoy a gourmet breakfast? (very Melbourne) Borrow a kidney? Co-write books?

Not enough you need 50!’

The show is a wacky look and our beliefs and myths in everyday life through playful comic interactions that are clever and insightful.

An interview with the creator Harley H Hefford

Screen shot 2015-08-02 at 10.51.50 PM

“Earlier this year, a few different people expressed interest to me about making a sketch show and I realized that I knew enough talented people to put a show together. I called my friend Carly Milroy, with whom I’ve done several comedy shows and know I will have a great time making theatre with. Carly and I called an official meeting of comedians! It was quite a serious meeting.

From there, we ended up capturing the interest of Chris, Tom and Elliot three other enthusiastic comic minds. From the beginning, one of the exciting things about this show is that all five of us bring quite a different perspective and skill set to the table.

We began by working out what united us, and that was probably a desire to create sketches which put character first .The audience forms a relationship with the characters and learns about their motivation and worldview, rather than them just being vessels for a premise or punchline.

On the other hand, it’s been a nice compromise between some of us with more avant-garde ideals and some with more presentational comic backgrounds. I sincerely feel that we’ve ended up with the best of both worlds, the intrigue of the former and the presence of the latter.The theme is myths and legends, yet the show has a contemporary flavour and touches upon the current climate of the world.

Insomnia, A play by Natasha Moszenin

The Insomnia Project

The Insomnia Project by composer, writer and director, Natasha Moszenin, is a dramatic piece on the troublesome disorder of insomnia brought to life on the stage.

1 in 3 Australians suffer mild to extreme sleep deprivation and in our 24/7 lives we are increasingly becoming a ‘sleep-sick’ society. Insomnia and up to 70 other diagnosable sleep disorders underlie up to 70% of visits to GPs in Australia.

Natasha has been living with insomnia since she was a teenager. Having tried psychotherapy, herbs, restrictive diets, and meditation, she decided to create a music-theatre work about sleeplessness and the related conditions that surround it; anxiety and depression.

“ When a night can feel like a lifetime”

Review

The play can be best understood by night stalkers that wait for day with both anxiety and relief. Anxiety because sleep deprivation undermines ones ability to function and relief because the long lonely hours are over. 

“However vast the darkness we must supply our own light” Stanley Kubrick

Four actors shared the stage but remained in isolation. In a Kubrick style, the crowd were dragged through the condition and if they didn’t understand what insomniacs go through, they were not paying attention.

The Director and the Writer Natasha Moszenin provided the score, she played the piano as she watched the actors lumber, sleepless through the night. For insomniacs in the full audience it was a bonding into a community, when they thought they were alone.