People will probably know Bill Bailey from his appearances in TV shows such as Black Books, Spaced or Skins, but you can’t understand the depth of this guy’s talents until you have experienced him live. Bailey has one of those delightful minds which makes random associations between the oddest things, and has a charisma and presentation style that can make the mundane eye-wateringly funny.
The Thebarton Theatre was packed with appreciative fans from a wide demographic range; many who have undoubtedly been devotees for years and some who were experiencing him for the first time. Bailey is a quick witted, affable guy, who’s not afraid to engage his audience in banter. Over the course of the evening, we were treated to an enchanting mix of comedy, music and visual presentations.
Bailey is also a talented musician and incorporates music into much of his comedy. He always brings with him an eclectic mix of instruments. This time we got to experience the dulcet tones of the oud, as well as the delightful electronic machinations of a tenori-on, amongst others. His reinterpretation of the Leonard Cohen classic Hallelujah in the style of Kraftwerk, and his variations on the works of the likes of Phil Collins and James Blunt, were highlights.
In between songs, his account of what we can expect from the opening of the 2012 London Olympics was riotously funny and left one slightly concerned that he’d been privy to some IOC planning meetings. Barnacles also provided much merriment, including an auction relating to their penis to body ratio (we weren’t even close – Wikipedia says it’s up to 40).
Bill Bailey has a great reputation as an entertainer and did not disappoint his Adelaide crowd. They will undoubtedly be recounting stories of the evening to friends for years to come.
Kryztoff Rating 4.5K
This is a comedy show with a difference – the comedian, Stevl Shefn (Steve Sheehan), never utters an understandable word for the hour he’s on stage. Instead, he interacts with the audience in two ways; via his monotone, burka-clad translator Fatima and through the inspired physical comedy present in both his and Fatima’s demeanours.
To refer to this show as “cabaret” is stretching the truth a little; though there are a few song-based interludes, I don’t know that you’d call any of them a musical number. Having said that, it does provide one of the more interesting duets you’ll come across, as well as a chance for you, the audience, to engage in a sing-a-long in a “foreign” language.
Covering subjects as wide ranging as the intricacies of thesis writing, interspecies relationships and rainbow-chasing, you never know which direction the show is going to take next. The beauty of it is in the absurd places it goes and the pace at which it does so.
The material comes close to crossing the line of decency several times but, somehow, the calm no-nonsense voice of Fatima manages to keep it on the right side (just) and make it even funnier. Stevl and Fatima have been around for a few years now, popping up during Fringe Festivals (winning this year’s Adelaide Fringe award for best comedy) and the like, and although those who have seen them before may recognise some of the jokes there is also new material to enjoy.
Kryztoff Rating 4K
This show is totally unique. With a crowd that was fully prepared to go wherever he would lead, Mr Brown took us to new levels or hilarity and awkwardness, engaging and involving every single audience member in weird and wonderful ways.
Words really can’t describe who Dr Brown is or what he does, he simply has to be seen to be believed.
If you missed him this festival, you must catch him when he returns. To miss this act is a sin.
An extraordinarily special physical comedian. Don’t think. Just sit back and roll with it.
Oh, and if you are going to sit in the front row, make sure you are both comfortable with your own sexuality and keen to try new things.
If this is Dr. Brown behaving, I can’t wait to see him misbehave!
Kryztoff Rating: 5K
Life doesn’t always turn out as we had wished as a kid. Which is probably a good thing as if it had most of us Gen Y guys would be either Transformers or Ninja Turtles and Prince Charles would be Camilla’s tampon. Realising that he had no magic powers of his own, Bart Freebairn seeks to find magic in the world around him, learning some harsh lessons about how the real world works along the way.
Incredibly thoughtful, often insightful and continuously witty, Bart’s show is not the joke-a-second gig that some look for. That didn’t worry me. His jokes are incredibly funny – well set up and nicely delivered; the narrative in between engaging and thoughtful. Taboo topics are tackled bravely and irreverently in a show that could best be summed up as a delightful deviation from the real world for a while.
Oh, and his show is opened by a real wizard.
Kryztoff Rating: 3.75K
What is the Pony Club?
Pony Club is a gig run by the incredible Hannah Gadsby in which a bunch of comedians run amuck for an hour of improvisation, singing, dancing, stand-up and impressions. Like a kind of wheels-fell-off theatre sports, this show had the audience literally crying with laughter.
Check out the final Pony Club line-up: Hannah Gadsby, Adam Hills, Amelia Jane Hunter, Damian Callinan, Deanne Smith, David Smiedt, Dave Bloustien, and Rebecca De Unamuno! All in the one improv show! All of these comedians were at the top of their game, revelling in this fantastic opportunity to just be silly.
For a great night out, make sure you catch a Pony Club at the next Fringe and please give a generous donation at the door. Pony Club – mad bang for your buck. Late night comedy at its finest!
Kryztoff Rating: 4.5K
Mature comedian Kathryn Bendall is Kath On A Hot Tin Roof: a hypochondriac who tells us her life story. She has some interesting insights on the Australian Labor Party, Gen Y, and her children ‘Meatloaf’, ‘Mashed Potatoes’ and ‘Beans’.
Her occasional references to things like thalidomide, which are not universally recognised by Gen Y or X’s for that matter, are irrelevantly funny. However, Kath’s full life (including three marriages) provide more than enough engaging material for most generations.
Check out this wannabe trophy wife – who looks more like a gay icon!
Kryztoff Rating: 3.5K
Tripod take on Elana Stone in an on-stage version of Dungeons & Dragons, where their imaginations are brought to life through song, occasionally dance, and shadows. It’s clear that Scod is taking point on this one… after all, he did admit to being a D&D player in the interview below…
The lovely Elana Stone is an absolute stand out – she really has taken comedy into her stride and her vocals are beautiful as ever. She’ll be playing with her band at one of the Adelaide Festival Grab Bags too… keep a lookout! She also keeps the fellas on their toes! It’s a ton of fun, especially if you haven’t seen Tripod live before. Die-hard fans should enjoy the show, but may prefer their previous outings.
Kryztoff Rating: 4K
There was a slight delay to the start of the show, a forgotten projector being the reason, but this just gave us even longer to enjoy the rooftop garden of the Tuxedo Cat Studio. On a side note, it’s sad that this little Adelaide gem is soon to be demolished.
Two Indian comedians , Nazeem Hussain and Aamer Rahman, take turns in performing an hour of side-splitting racist jokes. Cleverly used projections combining scenes from Star Trek contrasted with current affairs opened the show to set the scene that white people are a predominantly racist bunch.
The first half hour, was by far the funniest half. Nazeem showed a more light hearted side to racism, with a humorous taxi skit, and poked fun at himself and the one sidedness of Indian TV news when reporting on racism in Australia.
The second comedian, Aamer, wasn’t quite to the same high standards as Nazeem and the laughs seemed to die down a bit. However the audience was welcoming and energetic and happy to have a laugh at themselves.
Kryztoff Rating: 3.5K
Young men of Adelaide – want to get in good with the missus and show your “sensitive side”? Why not take her to Austen Found!
While billing itself as the “Undiscovered musicals of Jane Austen”, Austen Found is actually an exercise in improvisation. But not just improvisation, these girls rattle off period language, dance, sing, and fill out a pair of well cut breaches, all without seeming to break a sweat. And for good reason. Performance Troupe ‘ConArtists’ is made up of a number of highly skilled improvisers, who have even improvised for their country at world championship theatre games (I didn’t know there was such a thing).
The story is…. well you already know the story: girl meets unsuitable boy, they fall in love, but are unable to express their undying devotion to each other due to social pressures etc….. The idea is that the story changes slightly every night, dependant on the choices the audience makes at the beginning of the show. But in general, you are not going to this show for the story – you are going to see these women improvise their little hearts out!
If you are wanting a deep discussion of the issues facing these women in society – this isn’t the show for you. But, if you are after a good night out with some laughs – why not give it a go!
*Unfortunately, our reviewer was sent into the wrong show on a preview night. He was supposed to see Tommy Little’s Afterthoughts this night, but was ushered upstairs to the Attic to the wrong room. Tuxedo Cat, please take note.* -Ed
About as funny as it sounds, sadly.
This show essentially feels like a lecture run by a kind of goofy professor. His knowledge of his material is impressive, and his jokes aren’t bad. The problem is that they are too few and far between. There are several moments in the show that are genuinely funny, and his closing is solid. It’s a shame that this standard is not maintained throughout the performance.
If you’re looking for intellectually stimulating material, this may be right up your alley. For the rest of us tho, this act is as it sounds – smart, but not that funny.
If you’re going to see this show, catch it toward the end of its run. Given time to find its feet, this show will improve with age.
Kryztoff Rating: 2.5K