Comedy Festival '05 - My best bits

This morning I received this email from the wonderful Annette at The Groggy Squirrel, the fine Melbourne comedy publication that have been publishing some of my Comedy Festival reviews during the Festival, which closed last night:
Hey Guys,

I've decided to be so audacious as to create my own award, the "Squirrel Grip Award". The idea is that it's kinda like The Age Critics' award, just not quite as well known (but far more prestigious!). What I need is for you guys to all let me know your favourites of the festival so I can collate the results. If you could e-mail me with your favorite five shows in order (or however many you wanna list) that would be great.


Tough question, but a list that is great fun to put together. I've seen enough shows in the Festival to know that there are a handful of terrific ones, some pretty terrible ones, and plenty hiding in the middle trying to get noticed. This year, I didn't have a chance to see many of the international acts, but saw quite a few of the locals, and this bias is reflected in the final list. Anyhow, for my amusement, your curiousity, and the sake of The Groggy Squirrel, here is my top five list:

5. Eskimos With Polaroids. Some top class, super silly sketches from The 3rd Degree, with the sort of production values that make you glad your bothered, cos you sure as hell know they did.

4. The Wilson Dixon Hour. Brilliantly droll country and western songs performed by a character who had his sense of irony surgically removed at birth. Played by Jesse Griffin, it's a character of David Brent-like cringeworthiness.

3. Jason Byrne. A perfomer who's show is driven by a hilarious ability to improvise everything out of nothing, Byrne is so alive with energy that watching him is hilariously exhausting.

2. Keating!. This rock country soul rap jazz opera theatre thing has taken the city by storm, and with good reason. The second show by Drowsy Drivers Die. it's cleverly writen, brilliantly performed, and proudly nerdy. More please.

1. Dark Side. Tim Minchin takes humourous songwriting to a whole new level, mixing hilariously subversive lyrics with a charming desire to offend everyone who walks through the door, thereby winning them over. Go figure.

And for the lesser awards announced at the Hi Fi Bar on Saturday night (and reported in The Age today):

Barry Award for Most Outstanding Festival Show - Drowsy Drivers Die: Keating!
The Age Critics Award for Best Australian Act - Drowsy Drivers Die: Keating!
Golden Gibbo - Drowsy Drivers Die: Keating!
Best Newcomer - Christina Adams: To Miss, With Love
Piece of Wood (performers' choice) - Tony Law
Director's Choice Award - Tim Minchin: Dark Side

Anyhow, enough of my egotism - what are other people's nominations for favourite show/s?


Anonymous said…
I will just go for a top three. I saw seven shows, so to list a top five may prove too much of a crushing blow for the two that got cut. This way, the ones I don’t list can form there own bitter and resentful club.

3. Keating!: playing with musical styles for comic effect is hardly new- the Scardies are probably Melbourne’s longest serving proponents, but this was a very amusing take on the colourful characters of PJK’s day. The rap battle against “Dr J” was my favourite.

2. Jackson’s Way: “don’t focus on the pointful things. Do things that are pointless. There’s so much potential there. Achieved!”

1. I Spied: not a new show, but the first time it was at the MICF. A great example of narrative as comedy, making clever use of its limited lights and sound. Also interesting for we public servant types. ASIO, despite all its secret squirrel business, is still just a government bureaucracy.

Lucky for an out-of-towner like me, some o the bigger performs are now on tour, so I’m looking forward to Ross Noble and the Big Con over the next few weeks. See you next festival!

Peter in Canberra

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