Dr Brown, Luke and Wyatt, Marc Maron, Maria Bamford : MICF Reviews
Dr Brown – Because
Dr Brown represents everything that I love about the Melbourne International Comedy Festival. The joy of taking a punt on something you’ve only heard whispers about, travelling through the dark – potentially rapey – alleyways of Melbourne’s underground to some obscure venue (and they don’t get more obscure than The Tuxedo Cat) to sit down and be consumed by an act which is beyond anything you could possibly expect to ever see with your own human eyes… ever.
Surreal, absurd and intensely funny – Dr Brown’s “Because” is far and away the most original show I’ve encountered at the 2011 festival. Essentially Mr Bean as seen through the Acid Tripping eyes of a homeless man, Dr Brown’s opus is almost impossible to explain.
And to be honest – you’ll enjoy the show 100 times more going in with no knowledge of what you are about to experience.
It’s confronting, confusing and for nearly its entire 60 minute running time – completely wordless. In a festival where easy laughs are found by simply throwing in a dirty word or the phrase “Did someone say iPhone?” – it’s a downright astonishing effort to sustain an audiences attention, and draw them in completely, without noise.
If you thought the opening 15 minutes of Wall-E was impressive… wait until you’ve seen a grown man wear an imaginary oriental woman like a human suit.
Be warned – this certainly isn’t a show for everyone… especially the “I love that bloke who pretends to be Chopper” crowd, but for those who want to experience something unlike anything else you’ve ever seen – something which pushes the boundaries of awkward in every aspect of the word – then Dr Brown’s “Because” is for you.
Here’s a tip : sit in the front row. What’s the worst that can happen?
BUY TICKETS : www.comedyfestival.com.au
WATCH OUT FOR | RATING : 4.5 out of 5
Luke & Wyatt – This Way Up
Comedy fans stand in one of three camps when it comes to musical comedy : “Love”, “Hate” or “How The F**k is Tim Minchin Someone?”.
Thankfully, Comedy Festival regulars Luke & Wyatt have managed to bypass such labels with some of the most ferocious enthusiasm and mockery of the genre I’ve seen yet.
Sure, they still sing 45 minutes of songs with “wacky lyrics” and insert the ol’ “(Serious One of the Duo to the Wacky One Of The Duo)… Hey, (Wacky One), what are you doing?” double act routine – but it’s delivered with their tongues planted so firmly in their cheeks it’s near impossible not to be won over by the fun of it all.
The musical set ranges from piss takes of pop stars addressing political issues, to some genuinely funny “Excerpts from a Musical” they’ve been writing, to a Vaudeville remix of rap songs.
On paper, it sounds just as lame as any other musical act, but Luke & Wyatt sell the s**t out of their gear and never give the audience a chance to not enjoy the show.
Wyatt Nixon-Lloyd thrives as “the wacky one” of the duo, mocking the role of the duo format to perfection, taking the concept of over-acting and on-stage energy to a crazy new level. His silliness is infectious, and his character “Bush Tom” a show highlight.
If you MUST see a musical comedy act – then do me a favour, see Luke & Wyatt. They prove that musical comedy isn’t just “Musicians who aren’t good enough to be musicians, but not funny enough to be comedians” – and suggest that maybe music can actually be funny too.
BUY TICKETS : www.comedyfestival.com.au
WATCH OUT FOR | RATING : 3 out of 5
HiFi Bar Festival Club
Feat. Bob Franklin, Maria Bamford and Marc Maron
While we don’t normally point out single nights at the Festival Club (because you should really be going to it every night… it’s the best value-for-money showcase of the festival), considering I’ve been unable to see the full shows of several of the acts on this particular night due to scheduling issues – we had to mention it.
Bob Franklin kicks off as MC – and the Pom that Australia adopted ploughs through with a random array of gags. He is, without question, in the Top 5 list of my all time favourite comedians – mixing weird, lame and clever gags all into the one basket.
I’m bitterly disapointed I didn’t get to see his full show this year – but that’s the beauty of Festival Club, it gives you a taste of something you may have otherwise missed.
First up is Maria Bamford – a former Barry Winner – with her weird and wonderful array of voices. The crowd took some time to warm to her (she’s so quirky and brilliant, it can be quite confronting for those not expecting it), however once she whipped out her impression of “other female comedians”, she had the crowd in the palm of her hands. A genuinely great act – a must see show if you haven’t already done so.
Cult Podcaster Marc Maron took to the stage earlier than expected, delivering his angry rants to the Thursday night crowd. Maron is, again, an acquired taste – but much like his podcasts, his ability to be so open about his thoughts and feelings and downfalls is what makes him one of the most interesting comedians around.
Tickets for his brief stint at the fest are probably the most desired in town for comedy nerds (aside from Kitson I would imagine).
With the Headliners opening up the show, newcomers Tom Ballard, Danny McGinlay and Joel Creasey were given the difficult task of following three comedy icons.
McGinlay, while hardly in the same league, showed a lot of promise (especially with one of the better bits on Bear Grylls I’ve encountered so far… and I’ve encountered many), while Ballard dominated once again (regular readers will know I’m big wraps for this guy).
Festival Club is always a mixed bag, but it’s always fun, and always worth checking out.