MICF 2019 Review: “Bombastic JOE Descend Into The Fiery Depths Of Heck”

 Tucked away in the conference space of an inner city hotel, I was greeted by a helpful and well presented front of house member and waited excitedly (with a large group mainly comprised of uni students) to be ushered into the theatre. I had no idea what to expect  – especially with such a spicy title for a sketch comedy show – and was excited for the adventure in front of us to commence.

Making a grand entrance are the stars of the show that comprise the acronym JOE: Jon Walpole, Oli Robertson, and Ed Rickards. Appearing in most sketch comedy scenes as a sort of ‘three stooges’ – with Jon being the ‘slow / dopey one’, Oli being the ‘shouty one’ and Ed representing a character the others do not like – if you’re going to see this show, best strap yourselves in for an evening of fast paced, sharp comedy sketches. The lads did seem way too cheery about taking the audience on their trip to the fiery depths of heck but judging by the regular roars of applause and cheers, the audience were clearly far too entertained to be concerned by the show title.

There were many aspects I loved about this show however the wide vocal ranges, scenarios / topics explored and characterisations by Jon, Oli and Ed were simply a marvel to behold. No scenario or topic was too much for any of them and there are a couple of characters within the show that I took a real liking to – see the show and you’ll know who I’m referring to I’m sure! This is not your typical sketch comedy show – expect surprise guests, dance breaks, some very interactive moments and some choice one liners to keep you entertained and enthralled throughout. I’m hesitant to name my favourite sketches here as I don’t want to spoil too much (also there are far too many to mention!) but I will mention that the ‘message from the sponsors’ section as well as the journey into children’s television and the loose interpretation of current affairs hosts made me laugh the most all night! Jon, Oli and Ed were nimble and attentive to the audience’s needs – some scenes seemed to be extended as the audience were having too much fun and this lead to some delightful seemingly unscripted moments in the show. During the show, there were times where I saw audience members doubled over / overcome with laughs and scenes where I was almost crying with laughter – we all shared in such a madcap adventure into heck!

The lads worked hard for their audience, and in return we all lapped up their sketches and enjoyed every moment. If you’re going to end up in heck – why not make it an delightfully enjoyable and funny adventure along the way?!

VERDICT: This is a show where the title delivers a hilariously madcap adventure for the audience. Bombastic, fantastic and with plenty of slapstick, ‘Bombastic JOE Descend Into The Fiery Depths Of Heck’ is a fun night of sketch comedy that surprises and entertains. Don’t miss it! For those after a ‘star rating’, I rate this show 4 out of 5 stars.

*Disclaimer: I attended this production as a guest of the performance team

**extra note: this show is marked as suitable for audiences 16+ which is fair as the show does contain regular references to adult themes and sex toys etc.

Tickets: https://www.comedyfestival.com.au/2019/shows/bombastic-joe-descend-into-the-fiery-depths-of-heck

MICF 2019 Review: “Love is a Work in Progress”

 Back at Tasma Terrace at 10pm for a show in a ‘late timeslot’, I entered the theatre to find very welcoming and stunning show performer (and host) Tara Rankine chatting to her audience and making sure everyone was happy and settled. The audience were about to partake in a party – about literally being in Tara’s heart. There were fun ‘party’ aspects to this show – songs, games, activities and inflatables! At times it almost felt like a hen’s party merged with a cabaret show. The songs were often accompanied by live music played by Maddie Thiele (who looked after the music and lyrics) which was a delightful touch.

This show is broadly themed on the different kinds of love (especially those that Tara has experienced) – ‘Rockstar’ love, addictive (Heroin) love, and friendship love (among others). These themes were explored through song (Tara has an amazing voice!), prop comedy and some very interactive hilarious scenes with volunteers from the audience. Yes – this is a show with a good amount of audience participation (plus the inclusion of some sensitive subject matter) – so shrinking violets need not apply!

Tara magically draws her audience into her stories, and invites the audience into her heart throughout the show. It would be difficult not to be moved by “Love is a Work in Progress” – there were times when I was captivated, and at other times I could feel my eyes becoming moist. Big love and big emotions aplenty. It really feels like Tara pours her heart out for her audience, and her audience returned the feels just as much. Having a theatrical background meant that Tara was often (literally) reaching out to audience members, and I loved seeing so much emotion in her eyes that unwavered throughout the show. I could see Tara’s heart shine through her songs and eyes during “Love is a Work in Progress” which made it a special experience. Like the subject matter, this show is more than just a title – it is quite an experience! If it reads like I’m gushing, then I encourage you to see the show as you’ll find out why!

The show ended on a very pleasant note, with Tara receiving a partial standing ovation –  rare for comedy shows and much deserved in this case. I walked away thinking “Gosh, what a room full of love!” There are some powerful stories within the show – and I must admit the day after seeing the show, much of the emotions and story content occupy my mind. Not many shows I’ve seen have had such strong staying power. Testament to the fun time that I had, I am tempted to see the show again – so I encourage all of you to come and see the show before it leaves town! It will be a show you won’t forget in a hurry.

VERDICT: This is a show that will stay with you – in your mind and heart. Featuring a powerful performer addressing some serious subject matter at times, “Love is a Work in Progress” manages to be entertaining, hilarious and meaningful in equal measures – who could ask for more?

*Disclaimer: I attended the performance as a guest of the show.

Tickets: https://www.comedyfestival.com.au/2019/shows/love-is-a-work-in-progress


MICF 2019 Review: “Mime Consultant” performed by Patrick Collins

Tasma Terrace is a period building (Terrace house) in the centre of Melbourne, housing a cluster of small theatres. As part of the 2019 Melbourne International Comedy Festival (MICF) I visited Tasma Terrace to enjoy Patrick Collins’ performance of “Mime Consultant”. Attending the opening night, the audience was friendly, supportive and we were all up for the adventures of the show to come.

The premise of the show is directly described in the title – Patrick Collins is a Mime Consultant and the show is about his adventures in this profession. If you’re thinking of the (possibly creepy) white faced mimes with striped t-shirts, then do not fear – Patrick Collins appears onstage in a neat, corporate outfit with no face paint in sight. Patrick is relaxed, yet well composed with perfect enunciation and well planned dialogue throughout the show.

Patrick received a warm reception from the crowd with regular bursts of laughter and giggles heard throughout his show. “Mime Consultant” featured some choice one liners and hilarious anecdotes that had audience members cackling with laughter. Whilst I enjoyed the mime based comedy sketches within the show, the personal anecdotes made the show shine!

It’s a fast paced show that was almost too fast in some areas / sketches, however this wasn’t an issue as the greater story of Patrick’s vocation as a Mime Consultant was consistently referred back to. Each comedy sketch lead back to a scene in Patrick’s Mime Consultancy office, which I liked as each of the ‘office’ scenes enhanced the storyline. Some elaborate setups made for some fun, surprising moments at times. Over the course of the show, everyday type scenarios became slightly ridiculous at times (but were also made hilarious!) A very enjoyable show!

VERDICT: for a sketch comedy show with a difference that contains many surprises, take a chance on “Mime Consultant”

*Disclaimer: I attended the show as a guest of the performer.

Tickets: https://www.comedyfestival.com.au/2019/shows/patrick-collins-mime-consultant