Best of the Edinburgh FestNow that we’re all so time poor and have short attention spans, the “Best of” comedy nights fulfil an important role: they offer the chance to see some of the new kids on the block or from overseas without the audience investing too much time and money, and make presenting the show more affordable for the talent, too.

It’s also interesting to hear some thoughts on Melbourne from first-time visitors whose skill lies in observational comedy. Joggers along the Yarra (how many?), coffee and hipsters were all up there.

There are three comics billed as the Best of Edinburgh – two Brits and a Canadian – and they were all comfortable, confident and delivered well.

Chris Martin discovered early on that you can travel half way around the world but the first person you pick on from the audience can still live just down the road from you in Chiswick. Beware transcontinental stalkers.

He is engaged to be married so themes much of his storytelling around Living With A Lady for the first time.

John Hastings (from Canada, not the Aussie cricketer), has an interesting personality that he’s happy to share in a combative sort of way. A master of the deadpan non sequitur, he jumped easily from scripted stories to audience-inspired ad-libbing but I did wonder if some of the audience were laughing in relief at not being picked on. 

Last up was Jimmy McGhie, whose down-to-earth observations and mimicry were possibly the highlight. He does a lovely line in identifying – and then blasting to smithereens – shallow trends and affectations. With a keen eye for the ridiculous, his comments on tight jeans, coffee snobbery and more were bang on target.

No explanation is given for how the ‘Best of Edinburgh’ comic are chosen – it’s a different line-up in Adelaide – but one could be cruel and say it doesn’t matter; they’re all middle class white men in their late 20s anyway. Wearing jeans and T shirts.

However, that doesn’t do justice to the genuine talent of the three performing at the Forum Theatre this month. It’s a great way to spend 75 minutes.

Mary Tobin Presents
Best of the Edinburgh Fest

With Chris Martin, John Hastings and Jimmy McGhie

Venue: Forum Theatre – Upstairs | Cnr Flinders & Russell Sts, Melbourne
Dates: 26 March – 19 April, 2015
Tickets: $34.40 – $26
Bookings: 1300 660 013

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