Left - Harley Breen
The Melbourne Comedy Festival Roadshow is a rare delight. Five entertaining comedians, 2 and a half hours of laughter, and one rather individual interpretative dance, and you have a good night out.
Popular comedian Colin Lane MCs the night’s events. Better known as half of the renowned comic duo ‘Lano and Woodley’, with the amusingly awkward Frank Woodley, it seems that Colin struggles slightly without his former partner. While he is still “funny”, with his cheesy grin and easy humour, the content is rather light and it seems a little old hat. Audiences are already accustomed to this character he has always played with Woodley, and I wanted to see him really break out on his own. Lane even refers to Frank to make half of his jokes, and the other half is just a series of puns. Lano was always the more ‘straight man’ of the duo, and it seems that without Woodley, he just doesn’t work as well.
The first comedian to take the stage is Dave Thornton, nominee for the 2007 Melbourne Comedy Festival Best Newcomer award. His gangly physique and breaking voice are reminiscent of Will Anderson, however it is his impersonation of Dave Hughes that is particularly spot on. Thornton’s performance is quintessentially Australian, and audiences will be charmed by him.
Hannah Gadsby is easily the evening favourite. Her monotonous sarcasm and dry self deprecation is a winner. From the moment she walks onstage, her understated manner belies her highly entertaining routine. Most surprising is Hannah’s physical performance. Her dynamic interpretations of the “bogan” surpass any expectations an audience might have based on her initial appearance. Hannah uses herself as her own prop and her own source of amusement in the way that many comedians use other people. This is a refreshing and unique performance. For anyone who has ever doubted the power or ability of the female comedian, watch Hannah Gadsby.
After a short interval, the third comedian for the evening erupts onto the stage. And when I say erupts, I mean in more ways than one. Jackie Loeb, is, well, a little bit odd. Her humour obviously appeals to a select few, but I don’t think I was one of them. Loeb combines crude with flair, impersonation with individualization, and ultimately is a stage dynamo of dangerous proportions. Much of her routine is based on imitations of female musicians, enhancing their annoying voices and slightly altering the lyrics. With a trilling and powerful voice, some of these impersonations work. Some of them don’t. The rest of the routine involves wobbling her stomach at the audience. Funny, but not my kind of humour. However therein lies the brilliance of the Roadshow as a holistic production - it has something for everyone.
The final comedian was the tough looking and yet oh-so-cute Harley Breen. Breen basically is the bogan from Gadsby’s performance. He might look like the every-man, but as he tells us, he definitely is not. Breen’s dance tribute to his first car ‘Margaret’ has the audience in rapture, and like Thornton, he is a delight to watch.
The Melbourne Comedy Festival Roadshow combines the best comedians with the widest range of locations in a spectacular touring event. Well worth the night out.
Brisbane Powerhouse presents
Melbourne Comedy Festival Roadshow 2008
Venue: Powerhouse Theatre
Dates: Thu 15 - Sun 18 May 08