Giggles, laughs and a couple of gaffes – that’s what you get with a collection of comedians in one night. The Melbourne International Comedy Festival Roadshow format is usually four acts, and one comedian emcee for gee-ups with an intermission in the middle. I’ve done the review for the past four years and it’s just the nature that not every act is going to do it for you. But there are laughs in every one of the performances, so rest assured it’s always an entertaining adventure.
Starting us off and keeping the enthusiasm up between acts is the irreverent Aussie bloke emcee Dave Williams. Striding about with amplified body language he does awesome voice character piss-takes. I would absolutely go to see him as a solo act, such is his variety of subject material. He’s the kind of guy you want at a barbeque – flirting with the ladies and being a general man’s man.
The first act was Felicity Ward, now a relative veteran of the comedy circuit and has TV appearances on ABC’s Spicks and Specks and Seven’s Thank God You’re Here. Ward was OK, relying mostly on the audience for material, though she had some witty insights into fat-skinny politics while strung about with rubberband-like energy.
After more of Williams came the winner of Best Newcomer 2012 Melbourne Comedy Festival, Matt Okine. Most of Okine’s act ran around his ‘povvo’ status as a comedian hanging out with richer than rich friends, and his despair at crappy household appliances. Okine is a natural comedian, instantly charming the audience with his cultural background. And his story about his vacuum cleaner still makes me smile – he was the highlight of the evening and I would have loved more.
After intermission presented Dayne Rathbone: a quiet and awkward geek performing poetry, book reading and general non sequiturs in a static posture. Rathbone is one of those of the Sam Simmons vein of ‘WTF?!’ comedy – not everyone’s cup of tea but he got laughs. It’s hard to know if he was putting on the socially inept act or he really is that way. It was also tricky to hear some of what he was saying, though sometimes that was because the audience was laughing – which means he was doing the job. At the very least Rathbone provided a contrast before the booming noise bonanza of the next act.
That brings me to the Axis of Awesome – the trio of Benny Davis, Jordan Raskopoulos and Lee Naimo combine keyboard, voice and dance in catchy musical pieces with comedic lyrics. Two of three have incredible voices…and the other…well that just make it even funnier. Warning: there are some very cringe-worthy dance moves that inspire some ‘oh please put your shirt on arggghhhh’ but that just makes it even funnier. The Axis of Awesome is the perfect note to finish on and will be sure to leave an earworm in your head the next morning.
So then is the MICF Roadshow worth going to? Well, don’t go to this show if you’re a politically correct, clean-as-soap little darling. You’ll be offended in the first 5 minutes. But if you have a sense of humour and open mind, laughs are guaranteed.
Melbourne International Comedy Festival Roadshow
Tour Dates: until August 4, 2013