Left - Seann Walsh
In recent years the acts in the Bulmers Best of the Edinburgh Fest have been known to have the Capitol theatre audience in hysterics. On this particular evening however the theatre is half empty and despite the talent of its comedians, the mood is rather subdued.
First on is Carl Donnelly. He comes across as a guy that could be your best mate, and appropriately his act largely revolves around what he and his own mates get up to and talk about. His jokes, with the exception of what he refers to rather endearingly as a few “swearsies,” are surprisingly very tame. His demonstration of dance floor moves and likening of them to the various stages of making a sandwich at Subway are amusing to watch, but he is at his funniest in his moments of ad-lib and interaction with the audience at the beginning of his act.
Following on from the laid-back Donnelly is Tom Allen who wears bright red fitted jeans and has a very shiny head. He makes no apology for his flamboyancy, and nor should he, for it is this, in combination with a playful snobbery and command of the stage, that makes him so easy to watch. His recollections of the rough school he attended and those around him are amusing but again it is his interaction with the audience, and his bossing them about, that are the highlights.
Seann Walsh closes the show and in manner and delivery of material, he is far more sporadic than Donnelly and Allen. He changes his topics often but amongst these there are some great observations of everyday pastimes and objects. Particularly amusing is his questioning of the usefulness of windows in various household electrical appliances and his reminiscing about the older style computer consoles and games (his physical demonstration of a Street Fighter character is very funny indeed). He also supplies one of the funniest jokes of the night – about the British TV show Art Attack.
On this particular Tuesday night Best of Edinburgh Fest seemed to have lost its sparkle but there are others who have seen this show over the weekend and found that they, along with the majority of the audience, were almost hyperventilating with laughter. It is a reminder that stand-up comedy is a fickle business, but one thing is for sure, between these three artists there is a joke (or ten) for everyone and it’s definitely still worth a look.
2011 Melbourne International Comedy Festival
Bulmers Best of the Edinburgh Fest
Venue: RMIT Capitol Theatre | 113 Swanston St (opp Town Hall), Melbourne
Dates: 31 March - 24 April, 2011
Times: 31 Mar-10 Apr: Tue 8.30pm, Wed-Sat 7.30pm, Sun 6.30pm. 12-24 Apr: Tue 8.30pm, Wed-Sat 9pm, Sun 8pm
Duration: 70 minutes
Tickets: $33 – $25
Bookings: Ticketmaster 1300 660 013 | At the door