Review: Melbourne International Comedy Festival 2014 (Part 1)
NOW that the 2014 Melbourne International Comedy Festival has finished tickling our funny bones, check out what some of Meld’s reporters thought of the highlights of this year’s lineup.
The Umbilical Brothers
By Rachel Furolo
In attending the Umbilical Brothers‘ KiDSHoW, you definitely had to leave all inhibitions at the door. It was a sometimes crude, twisted and downright warped comedy show that was anything but ordinary.
Running as a parody of a kids TV show, Shane Dundas and David Collins did a brilliant job of distorting all of the classic stereotypes that you’d be used to seeing as a child.
Beginning with an array of singing, dancing and storytelling, it’s soon very evident why the show is described as ‘Not Suitable For Children’. A darker side emerged within a particular skit in which the audio apparently malfunctions and results in every word being bleeped except swear words. The show then took a bizarre course where miming, animal torture and the mass-murder of an incestuous Brady Bunch were the norm.
Admittedly a little on the weird side, an audience member for KiDSHoW had to have that ‘go with it’ attitude to keep up with the crazy events that transpired on stage.
By Juliana Mare
Initially, my expectation for this show was that someone would just read out poorly written fan-fiction smut and it would be awkward and crude. While I wasn’t wrong about the smut part, it was included in such a mocking and ridiculous way that was funny enough to put the audience at ease.
Every night, four new and freshly scripted pieces of fan-fiction are read aloud so no two shows are ever the same. The performance I attended included a Jarvis/Tony Stark love story, Sherlock and Scott from Blues’ Clues teaming up to solve a case, a plot synopsis for a potential Charmed movie and a Thomas the Tank Engine meets The Island slash Aliens. Sound weird? It was.
The stories are so utterly peculiar and satirical that you can’t help but laugh, sometimes for genuine jokes and sometimes at the sheer stupidity of the plot. Either way, it was a great show that pokes fun at pop culture and plays on the most common television and movie tropes.
One Man Breaking Bad
By Jordan Thompson
The most important thing to know about One Man Breaking Bad is that it was literally a one-man version of Breaking Bad. If you haven’t seen the TV series, then this show is not for you; rather you need to be quite well acquainted with the entire series to enjoy it.
The second most important thing to know is that it is an impression show. Miles Allen is quite a good impressionist – his rendition of Mike, the drawling assassin, was particularly good – but if you aren’t a fan of impression comedy then this show won’t impress.
The comedy relied heavily on the audience’s familiarity with the quotes and characters and the show was rich with one-liners and mock-catchphrases. These relentlessly re-appeared and while they drew big laughs from the audience initially, by the end, only received a chuckle.
All in all, the show could be entertaining, but only if you can check off these pre-requisites: You have to like impression comedy and have watched the whole series of Breaking Bad.
By Christian Teo
Cinema Fiasco is the brainchild of film buff comedians Janet A. McLeod and Geoff Wallis, where audiences are treated to hilariously witty live-in-the-cinema commentary as some of the worst films to ever hit the big screen are shown and mocked.
Trolls 2, easily one of the most god-awful films I’ve ever seen, was strangely captivating thanks to the wonderfully colourful commentary of McLeod and Wallis. Utter repulse at the film’s dialogue aside, I found myself in anticipation of scenes just to hear what jabs the pair would throw.
McLeod and Wallis went into striking detail about the film’s cast pointing out some weird character portrayals, poor acting (or lack of skill entirely), and quirky scenes to look out for. One favourite from the night included the actress’ inability to blink throughout the movie. Wallis made no reservations in using his laser pointer to continuously circle around her eyes – much to the delight and cackle of the audience.
Not your conventional comedy format, Comedy Fiasco was a strangely whimsical, humorous and lighthearted way to spend the evening. If poking fun and having a good laugh at some awfully dreadful acting and poor filmmaking sounds appealing to you, this may just be your cup of goo.
The Faulty Towers Dining Experience
By Juliana Mare
The original show may have only aired 12 episodes altogether but the beloved characters of Basil and Sybil Fawlty and their hilariously useless waiter Manuel are brought back to life in this downright laugh-out-loud comedy festival performance.
Only one-third of the show is scripted, the rest relies heavily on audience participation, accidents and incredible impromptu comedy performances from the three brilliant actors.
The evening begins with us waiting to be seated by Manuel, a task obviously too complicated for the simple waiter and we are soon introduced to Mr & Mrs Fawlty. They have their characters downpat and as a result, their banter, quips and arguments are hilarious to the audience who half the time, have somehow contributed to the punch-line.
The meal itself was pleasant; a humble pumpkin soup for entrée which was enjoyable despite the pair of dentures floating around in my dish (to which Sybil came running manically from the kitchen shouting “The chef says he lost something!”). Main was juicy chicken breast with veggies and pea puree followed by sticky date pudding for dessert.
There were some genuinely funny moments although if the audience wasn’t willing to cooperate, it could get a little awkward. Irrespective of whether or not you’ve watched the episodes, it was definitely an entertaining night and one of the most unique dining experiences I’d ever had.
Want to keep laughing? Click through here to see part two of our reviews!