Saturday, May 7, 2016

Perth Comedy Festival

Gen Fricker (★★★)
Perth Comedy Festival
Mt Lawley Bowls Club
May 13, 2016
Gen Fricker is solidly in the “a funny thing happened to me” mold – in her case including an inconvenient attack of a virulent strain of acne, a wisdom tooth extraction gone haywire, meeting the new boyfriend’s misogynist former schoolmates and starting work in the graveyard shift at Triple J in the shadow of the Sydney Seige.
She finds out that turning 26 already pushes you out of all sorts of demographics – including her own station’s target audience – and the lifestyle of “disgusting” 19-year-olds.
There’s the underlying story of her part-Maori ethnicity (she’s a self-described “Cinnamon Swirl”, half white, half “Mouldy”) and a sense of youthful cynicism giving way in to experience and self-awareness throughout.
If that process comes at the expense of some cheap laughs, it makes her a more interesting person in return. 

Sarah Callaghan (★★★½)
Perth Comedy Festival
Mt Lawley Bowls Club
May 13, 2016

Sarah Callaghan is quite something, but not quite the something she seems. She may have been born and raised in Uxbridge, in her eyes at least a cripplingly disaspirational West London satellite town where “dreams disintegrate into pieces of shit”. She may even actually live in a dingy 5 x 3m room with a broken curtain rail in her mum’s house under the Heathrow flightpath.
But there’s nothing dingy about her comedy – it’s as carefully polished as the shoes that are her pride and joy (she’s got a great but unrepeatable Imelda Marcos gag with the punchline “head over heels”), and her life story doesn’t mention her stint at Chicago’s Second City School (think Alan Arkin, Bill Murray, Tina Fey, Steve Carell, just for starters).
So her Anglo-bogan, passive/aggressive character may be just that, but it’s finely-honed and convincing, and, like our own Steve Hughes and Jim Jefferies, a great platform to make her point as well as her jokes. 

Read complete reviews of Fricker and Callaghan in The West Australian

Andrew Maxwell (★★★

Perth Comedy Festival
Perth Town Hall
May 5, 2016 
Andrew Maxwell cracks on about Aussie backpackers in his Perth Comedy Festival show, Yo Contraire. They pop up everywhere, he says, even, during The Troubles, happily working in Belfast pubs that no sane person would have gone near.
Well, if there's anything as ubiquitous as our compatriots abroad, it must be Irish comedians.
This festival we've already had David O'Doherty and Tommy Tiernan, with Jimeoin still to come, and there are dozens more doing the rounds of international comedy.
There’s clearly a comic efficiency dividend if you don’t have to establish that you’re funny – because you’re Irish, and you just… are. 

Read the complete review in The West Australian  

Speedmouse (★★★★)
Written and performed by The Umbilical Brothers

David Collins and Shane Dundas

Regal Theatre

April 30 and May 1.

It risks being patronising to say that an act that’s played with great success around the world for a quarter of a century is getting better, but the Australian comedians Dave Collins and Shane Dundas, the Umbilical Brothers, sure look to be doing it with a scintillating revival of their venerable show, Speedmouse.
Collins and Dundas rattle out a faultless parade of their goodies; fast-forwarding, pausing and rewinding, instantly transforming themselves into Velociraptors or diving underwater, channelling Yoda and Superman or showing us dozens of new and hilarious ways to give someone the finger.
It’s great to see performers who know exactly what they are doing and don’t try to pretend otherwise. If you’re tired of comedians who make out they’ve landed on a stage in front of you by accident with nothing prepared for your entertainment, the unashamedly unaccidental Umbilicals are just the act for you.

Read the complete review in The West Australian  


Paul Foot (★★★)

Regal Theatre
April 23, 2016
I’m not walking back my conviction that Paul Foot is as funny a comedian as walks the earth; one of those rare beasts who can have you helpless with laughter (there’s Spike Milligan in the firmament, Steve Martin and Billy Connolly among the superstars and Neil Hamburger on the festival circuit; our own Damien O’Doherty has it in her too).
So it’s a shame that Foot seems to be trapped in a blind alley. In his last foray here, with his Hovercraft Symphony in Gammon # Major, and even more this visit, his interest in the process of comedy, clever and insightful as it is, comes at the expense of what makes him so special, the parallel universe of the imagination he inhabits so hilariously.
We get the idea behind Fun with Penny, an excruciatingly unfunny cross-dressing character with a penchant for audience humping, but she is, well, excruciatingly unfunny. We get the deconstruction, as we get the artifice of his long self-introduction and the way it skewers stand-up convention, but it’s all punctuation and not near enough of some of the wildest words in comedy.
It’s all a bit disappointing (though I’d never miss a chance to see him again).

David O'Doherty (★★★★)
Regal Theatre

April 19, 2016

I dodged a bullet last night when I decided not to wear my prized salmon pink T-shirt to the Regal to catch David O'Doherty's We Are All of Us in the Gutter, but Some of Us are Looking at Him.
Quelle chance! There he was, in an all-but-identical T-shirt, a bit "doughy" (his words), a bit avuncular, a bit ramshackle.
He was just like me. If I'd have been in pink. And Irish. And funny.
Very funny, in truth. O'Doherty has a sly accidental charm and a suitcase full of yarns of the possibly true story variety (he's a regular guest on BBC One's Would I Lie To You, where he'd be a holy horror to pick).
If you judge a comedian by the amount of stuff he can cram into his hour (and a bit in this case), O'Doherty's your man. If you like that stuff to be funny and a little bit wise as well, then his fart smartphone app and the consequences of mixing some of those super food concoctions with phenomenal amounts of booze (at a party to celebrate the success of the Irish marriage equality referendum) will suit you down to a salmon-pink T.        

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