Left – Phil Wang
The range of comedy coming out of the UK is as broad as the diversity of accents you could hear and colours on the Pantone chart.
For a chance to see Britain’s Hot New Things before they become household names, the tapas board that is New Order UK offers a rotating line-up featuring perfect bite-sized morsels of some excellent new talent.
Opening on Friday night’s preview was Phil Wang, who is so laid back and laconic he could become an honorary Aussie. He does deadpan delivery in perfect form and, while some subjects are obviously rehearsed, much of his routine feels joyfully spontaneous.
Even when he explores his heritage – British mother, Chinese father – he offers a fresh, wry look with more word play than racial profiling.
Next up was Lazy Susan, a pair of elfin lasses with glorious accents (natural and adopted) and a brand of off-beat humour with echoes of The Mighty Boosh.
The pair – Celeste Dring and Freya Parker – specialise in sketch comedy of a truly original type, with riotous characters that are unlikely to appear in any other LSD trip.
No idea what the name means; they’re actually pretty hyper. And lots of fun.
Rounding off our night was Dane Baptiste, with some very male observations of the world. It will be his smart comments about boy-girl stuff that require the 16+ warning on the show, but there’s enough self-deprecation to avoid causing offence.
His blurb lists him as the first black Briton to be nominated for a Foster’s Edinburgh Comedy Best Newcomer Award, which is great for him but a little disappointing that it’s taken so long to happen. Lazy Susan were also nominated last year.
The fourth comic you may see on any other night is Joel Dommett, who has won some great slots on MTV and BBC and has enjoyed three good seasons at the Edinburgh Fringe. His style is described as “sharp and often manic, with super-skilled storytelling”.
Get along and see for yourselves.
The venue is the new Greek Centre, which has a rooftop bar on the 13th floor – but you can’t take drinks down. If you’re running late, wait in line instead; there’s also a bar in The Parthenon where the show runs.
2015 Melbourne International Comedy Festival
New Order UK
Featuring Dane Baptist, Joel Dommett, Lazy Susan and Phil Wang
Venue: Greek Centre | 168 Lonsdale St, Melbourne
Dates: until April 19, 2015 (no Mondays)
Tickets: $25.50 – $33.50
Bookings: Ticketmaster 1300 660 013 or at the door
Suitable for 16+