Tag Archives: Melbourne International Comedy Festival 2014

‘UgLeigh’ at The Alex Theatre St Kilda

Reviewed by Baroness Madeleine von Hohenfels

Alex Theatre, St Kilda
Doors Open: 7.30pm
Act One: 8.00pm
Approx. Finish Time: 9.10pm

PERFORMANCE DATESWed 10th, Thurs. 11th, Fri 12th Sat.13th & Sunday 14th April.

Tickets: Adults $36.85, Concession $34.40.  Artist Passes welcome

The Melbourne International Comedy Festival 2019 has tapped into our Australian larakin laughter mechanism once again, by that I am referring to Australian’s ability to laugh at themselves.

Nicolette Nespeca & Maia Absburg © PationPics_5205 copy
Nicolette Nespeca & Maia Absburg

And for those of you who love a little theatre with their laughs then look no further, as the production of UgLeigh at The Alex Theatre (Fitzroy Street, St. Kilda) is sure to shock and entertain you.

UgLeigh is a humorous and confronting look at the added pressures we all contend with in current life; brought about by the seemingly never ending technology allowing us to change ourselves physically to suit the fashion of the day, to be enhanced, and more appealing to ourselves, and our perception of what other’s may want to see in us – at least on the outside.

Ben Lindsay & Maia Absburg © PationPics_5222 copy
Ben Lindsay & Maia Absburg

UgLeigh sets a good pace from the outset and, for the most part, continues this throughout the production with laughter attained within the first few lines.

The ensemble cast deliver Charlotte Watson and Shamita Sivabalan collaborative work ‘UgLeigh’; not only did these two capable women write UgLeigh, they also produced and directed its’ production.

Ben Lindsay & Maia Absburg © PationPics_5228 copy
Ben Lindsay & Maia Absburg

The lead actor, Maia Absberg’s portrayal of the ugly duckling ‘Leigh’ was passionate; humorous; confronting; and believable, right down to genuine tears, snot, and dribble. And Ben Lindsay, Nikki Nespeca, and Andrew Burns all delivered hilariously and animated characters husband, boss and surgeon of Beauty respectively.

This multimedia production of clever design, wit and craft is minimalist and punchy and performed to a Full-House at The Alex Theatre last night, which was the opening night for UgLeigh.

Andrew Burns © PationPics_5175 copy
Andrew Burns

I recommend you get in quickly for this production as there are only four nights left of it’s run ( Thu. 11th April through to Sun. 14th April ) at The Alex Theatre, St. Kilda, where this production takes bold strides on the intimate stage at 8:00pm .

UgLeigh is akin to ‘Selfies and Botox meets The Rocky Horror Show’…

The Alex Theatre, 135 Fitroy Street, St. Kilda is easily accessed by the Light Rail and Trams, with ample parking at the primary school car park and surrounds.

Images by Kerrie Pacholli © Pation Pics

Colin Hay at Playhouse Theatre

The stage is carefully set  with four guitars in stands facing the audience, a wooden coat rake and wooden stool with three bottles of water to quench Colin’s cultivated thirst during his performance.

Regarding Colin Hay performing in the Playhouse Theatre at the Melbourne Art Centre as part of The Melbourne International Comedy Festival 2014.  ‘It doesn’t get better than this’ quotes Pixie Michael, Melbourne based sound and lighting maestro who did his part in creating acoustic magic that night.

The best way to describe the effect that Colin’s incredible vocal and acoustic guitar performance had on me is to say that it felt like I had arrived  home.  To my senses Colin is centred, living in a magical place where his music and songs have lives and personalities of their own. Stories in song conjuring images that transport one to far off destinations and tapping into memories and awarenesses through time and space. It felt as if the entire audience were inclusively flying through space simultaneously having the same emotional experiences.

All the usual greats were given the stage including Who Can it be now, Down by the Sea and Land Down Under.

Between songs Colin shared witty stories of his life on the road throughout his robust 40 year career and delightful and poignant memories of his loving family; keeping it real and compelling with his adorable Scottish accent and crystal clear delivery.

Colin Hay is a much loved Aussie icon. Not bad for a Scotsman who lives in LA.

Colin Hay part of the Melbourne International Comedy Festival 2014
Colin Hay part of the Melbourne International Comedy Festival 2014


Funny man Stephen K Amos

Stephen K Amos performing at Athenaeum Theatre as part of Melbourne International Comedy Festival 2014.

Stephen K Amos has huge funny bone action going on. From the start he had Thursday nights full house at Melbourne’s Anthenaeum Theatre in his pocket and he played with us like the seasoned international comedic professional he is.

Evenly paced, engaging, his timing didn’t miss a beat. He easily merged impromptu and very funny dialogue with people in the first couple of rows and hecklers in the stalls weaving their responses into his written script, breezing through the show like the comedic maestro he is with resounding  laughter and applauses with every punchline.

Actor and storyteller, the very cultured Stephen K took us on a hilarious, psychedelic ride from puberty and beyond. There is little better than great comedy.


Stephen K Amos performing at Athenaeum Theatre as part of Melbourne International Comedy Festival 2014.
images by Sam Tabone from Sammizphoto.com




Having spent the last nine years playing Chopper in his other stand up comedy show, Heath Franklin breaks free of Chopper and gets to do observational comedy that he otherwise couldn’t use Chopper as a mouth piece for. In fact Heath Franklin’s “Chopper: Big F**Ken Late Show”  is running   at the Melbourne Comedy Festival.

Heath arrives on stage with the Chopper Aviator sunglasses, handlebar moustache and texta tattoos and after some initial banter sheds the Chopper character.  Part of the story is Heats relationship to the character of Chopper and one feels that there may be a bit of psychic divorce in the offing.

Heath is a brilliantly together, savvy, energetic comic who has that sublime ear for the audience. He gets to talk about his own relationships, being a Dad, his two boys and life in  multicultural western Sydney

The conceit behind the show comes from his comedian mates who hit crises in their lives and turn that around and use it to make a show. Heath grudgingly admires the turn of shite in life to gold comedy and uses audience experiences to improvise vignettes of comedy out of the tragedy of peoples lives to hilarious effect.

Review by Conor O’Neill

Ticketmaster 1300 660 013. At the door

DATES & TIMES21 Shows 27 Mar – 20 Apr

VENUE: Trades Hall – The Front Room

PRICES: $18 – $27.90


Welcome to the home of Neurosis Yak/yankland, aka North America. This places fizzes with the bent smash and grab of four performers who each rock  18 minutes.

First into the ring is Dave Meherje, from Toronto who goes at it like a Lebanese Woody Allen trying to address all the voices in his head at the one time. His hands pop left then right as if batting off invisible muggers. He improvs off the audience with the front row being a crew from his home town whom he interrogates and takes on like you’d play with a wild raccoon in a  cheap sleeping bag.

Next up: Brooke Van Poopelen. She’s got the onomatopoeia name for tripping your nutsack off by a mountain river. From Detroit now New York, her set corners on the aging mid 30’s woman, how they are represented on TV ads and what in fact is the  real bitching truth. She moves smooth through her smooth moves and shits us with laughs like a colonoscopy.

Dave Hill follows with cravat and smoking jacket, like an Oscar Wilde clone eaten and defecated by a fictional Norwegian death metal band. He thanks the invisible applause of the audience, tickles us with erotic short stories, charms us with his delusions of grandeur and wipes us with stories of Japanese hi-tech toilets.

Seaton Smith rocks the crescendo of the night with hi- octane jibes into the nature of race and diversity. He muses on his 75% agreement with conservatives until they sabotage themselves with the last part of their argument.

Each night is throws up a revolving pot pourri of comics from the Upper Americas with all tastes covered.

revue by Connor O’Neil

Nightly until 20th April, Melb Town Hall, cnr Swanston & Collins St.  Tickets $28- $35.50

Tue-Sat 9.45pm

Sun 8.45pm

70 minutes

Sara Pascoe vs Truth

Sara Pascoe vs Truth UK performing  27 March - 20 April at Melbourne Town Hall
Sara Pascoe vs Truth UK performing  at Melbourne International Comedy Festival 2014 – 27 March – 20 April at Melbourne Town Hall

 Sara Pascoe comes out to the audience armed with a glass of red wine and immediately and mindfully tries to sabotage her own show.

She then challenges herself to win back the audience. She admits she did this in Cardiff, Wales calling it her favourite part of England – which by doing so lost her her audience, who then booed all through her allotted 18 minutes. Melbourne is much too polite to do this and she de-quagmires herself, from the initial purposeful faux pas, during the rest of the show. She delves into whether or no she is an alcoholic and, well, one has to question whether  the lady protests too much.

Sara messes with the illusion of reality and her part in it as a struggling ethical, vegan, feminist. She doesn’t hector but unwraps her slice of life through a deep philosophical lens: whether she explores the transubstantiation of a communion wafer, her own existence or why she has abandoned hairdressers and padded bras. She feels dissociated from the world and often at times feels she is just a brain in a laboratory in some cosmic joke of an experiment. She engages us in laughter by her cleverness and her own knowing futility of self.

revue by Connor O’Neil

DATES & TIMES: 22 Shows 27 Mar – 20 Apr

VENUE: Melb Town Hall – Old Met Shop

PRICES: $25.50 – $33

‘Double Up’ – Deadly, Dynamic, Hypnotic

Deadly duo 'Double Up' with Kevin Kropinyeri and Sean Choolburra.
Deadly duo ‘Double Up’ with Kevin Kropinyeri and Sean Choolburra.
The saying that goes ‘once you’ve had black you can’t go back’ also rings true for ‘black humour’.
 I kicked off this years Melbourne International Comedy Festival 2014 with an Aussie team of Indigenous brothers in ‘Double Up‘ who are next performing at the  Melbourne Town Hall – Mini Main on the 4 – 5 April. This show is a must see for seasoned die hard enthusiasts who like to keep raising the bar for their next comedic blast. 
 Performing separately together this dazzling comedic duo deliver a witty and entertaining show that brings their combined perspective to contemporary culture. Sean Choolburra’s fast paced style delivers a family friendly show and veteran funny man the over the top Kevin Kropinyeri’s humour revels in adult themes. Both had me totally mesmerised inspiring explosions of near jerk laughter. Both artists are crystal clear illuminants and cultural ambassadors, paving the way , cutting straight to the proverbial ‘funny bone’ preparing our palates for more to come.  
copyright Pation Pics
NEXT SHOWS: 4 – 5 April 2014
VENUE:  Melbourne Town Hall – Mini Main
SHOW:  Fri –  Sat 9.30 pm for 60 minutes.Buy tickets from online ticketing partners / Ticketmaster 1300 660 013 / or at the door
PRICE: $22 – $26.50