Kate Herbert is theatre reviewer, Herald Sun, Melbourne & formerly for Melbourne Times. Kate is a director & produced playwright (20 plays). Scripts published by Currency Press. She worked as an actor, comedian, improviser & teacher of Acting, Improvisation & Playwriting. Kate is currently Convenor of Professional Writing & Editing, Swinburne University. Read her reviews here or at: www.heraldsun.com.au/entertainment/arts. NB Explorer Browser doesn't always work on blog.
Lower Melbourne Town Hall until 19 April 2015 Melbourne Comedy Festival Stars:**** Reviewer:
Kate Herbert Review also published in Herald Sun online 1 April 2015. KH
Conti conjures some riotous moments in her show, In Your Face, and many of them
are courtesy of audience members who become Conti's human ventriloquist
Conti on stage for some mischievous ventriloquist shenanigans is Conti's
long-standing partner in comedy crime, the jaded but wicked Monkey hand puppet.
Nina is sweet and charming, Monkey is rude, insulting and gets to say all the
things Nina thinks but couldn't possibly say out loud without sounding like a
jerk. The Monkey can be a jerk and we laugh.
he says is not what I think," she pleads. "Yes it is," quips the
Monkey, her other self.
some chat with people in the front row, what follows is some risky comedy
that relies not only on audience participation but individuals coming on stage,
wearing half-masks and being manipulated in the nicest, funniest way to look
Trades Hall, Music Room, until 19 April 2015 Melbourne Comedy Festival
Reviewer: Kate Herbert Full review also published in Herald Sun on 30 March 2015. KH
Gillian Cosgriff's musical comedy talents are manifold and her
original songs are the highlight of her show, Whelmed.
Seated at her Roland keyboard, she opens with her song, This Bit Is Not
In The Show, a cunning little jazz tune with clever lyrics that provide
warnings about potentially offensive material (there isn't really any), exit
doors and the merciful lack of strobe effects or smoke machines.
Between her cleverly composed songs, Cosgriff, who is in her 20s,
delivers standard stand-up material in her particular, nervy, rapid-fire style
She prattles about begin borderline Obsessive Compulsive, an
over-achiever and procrastinator (Her hybrid word being procrast-achiever), a
combination that makes it almost impossible for her to sit down and write a
song because it needs to be perfect!
admits that she fritters her time away on Facebook, justifying the time-wasting
by asking Facebook friends to make suggestions about their irrational fears so
she can use them in her songs.
Swiss Club, until 19 April 2015 Melbourne Comedy Festival
This review also published online in Herald Sun 30 March, 2015. KH
Cal Wilson says that her show title, Undercurrents,
refers to all those secret and peculiar inner thoughts that we never reveal to
the world. Evidently, she has plenty of them.
Two otters and an egg beater (no spoilers)
encapsulate what she sees as her own, eccentric, meandering musings and
she reincorporates those otters at regular intervals to make her
Wilson chatters about her passion for Christmas
and all things Christmassy, particularly since having her child, and
her fervour extends to Santa, reindeers, gift-wrapping and when
to take down a Chrissie tree.
Her son's antics and childish idiosyncrasies provide
lots of material but she misses what seems a golden opportunity to get laughs
from the thoroughly modern, inner-city hipster names of her son, Digby, and his
Wilson mines more material from her hobby
of relentlessly but playfully tormenting her unflappable husband with
grotesque seductions or a mind-blowingly annoying, shrill voice she uses to
drive him (and us) insane.
Drivetime With Two Leggy Redheads: Rod Quantock & Fiona Scott Norman The Famous Spiegeltent, Arts Centre Melbourne Forecourt until 18 April, 2015 Melbourne Comedy Festival Reviewer: Kate Herbert Stars: *** Review also in Herald Sun online, Sun 29 March 2015. KH
If you think of Drivetime radio on 774 ABC, add
a panel interview format, two smart and witty hosts, a parade of
guests who either perform in the Comedy Festival, are obsessed with
the Fest, or buy tickets to the Fest, then you have Drivetime With Two
The titular Two Leggy Redheads are inimitable
political comedian, Rod Quantock, and the equally idiosyncratic Fiona
Scott Norman, who is a DJ, columnist and performer.
Their Drivetime vehicle veers out of control with
their first pair of guests, Miss Itchy, who devour all the cakes from Brunetti's
or do unspeakable things with them, but Quantock and Scott Norman eventually
wrest the steering wheel out of their hands and get back on the road
to entertaining interviews.
Miss Itchy try to do comic grotesquery but manage to
be mostly unpleasant and unfunny – apart from one comment from Miss Candy-Girl,
"If you want the Department of Human Services more involved in your
family, bring the kids along to our show." Pretty funny.
Comedy Theatre, until 19 April 2015 Melbourne Comedy Festival
Review also published in Herald Sun online today, Sat 28 March. KH
Employing his own brand of feigned oafishness, Dave
Hughes purposely stammers and bumbles his way through a routine about familiar
and predictable topics including family, fame, travel and fans.
After teasing the front rows of the audience and
taunting the latecomers, he slams Jetstar for its appalling treatment of him
and vows to spend the next 10 years bagging them – a plan that garners feverish
He has a red-hot go at the pseudo-celebrities on
reality TV, the Bombers and their drug scandals and The Gold Coast for its Bogans
with their sleeve tattoos.
trades on his raddled looks that make him appear as if he has gone three rounds
with a bottle of Jim Beam and a prize fighter, although Hughes is totally clean
living – he says.
He vigorously attacks his targets first, then
retreats, laughs and apologises with studied, insincere sincerity.
To pacify his audience after his irate rants, he peppers
his hour of stand-up with the repeated phrases, “You’re a great crowd. Never
forget it”, and “Good on you. Good on me. Good on them.”
Full review only published here. Very truncated review was publishedin print in News pages, Thurs 26 March 2015 but full review ran online in Arts pages, Herald Sun. KH
All pics below by Joe Calleri from Media Call today, Wed 25 March 2015 at Hisense Arena.
This is not C.G.I.(Computer Generated Imagery)! These scaly, feathered and
ferocious dinosaurs are real!
Well, they may not be the real flesh and bone of
those 65 million-year-old dinosaurs, but they are certainly realistic and quite
a bit scary – except for the cute, baby dinos, of course.
For any junior dinosaur fanatics – a title that
describes most kids from 5 to 12 years – this is a Jurassic treat that
titillates and terrifies parents and children alike.
We journey through 200 million years of the
dinosaurs’ reign on earth, witnessing the splitting of continents, the
transformations in the landscape from parched, Triassic deserts to the lush
greenery of the Jurassic period.
this rapid fast-forward through millennia, Huxley the Palaeontologist (Andrew
Blackman) narrates the earth’s tale of volcanic eruptions, oceanic turmoil and
even bush fires.
transformational set (Peter England), atmospheric music (James Brett) and
evocative sound design (Peter Hylenski) transport us back in time, conjuring
storms, battles, geological shifts and meteorological events.
We see the evolution of these creatures, watch the
carnivorous dinosaurs evolve to walk on two legs and the herbivores escape from
An Evening With Max Gillies; co-created by Max Gillies and Andrew
Barker ANZ Pavilion, Arts Centre
Melbourne, until 28 March 2015 Reviewer: Kate Herbert on 13 March 2015 Stars:**** Full review also published in H-Sun online on Mon 16 March 2015 and thereafter in print. KH (Oops! Sorry. I forgot to upload the full review 10 days ago. See it below now. KH)
Gillies is one of our greatest, Australian political satirists and, after 40+
years of lampooning national and international leaders, his depictions are just
as acerbic and disturbingly accurate.
Were Leaders does not feature the elaborate wigs and make-up seen in Gillies’ previous
live productions or in The Gillies Report from the 1980s.
is a blend of political commentary and analysis of satire that are illustrated
by a retrospective of Gillies’ most memorable portrayals of leaders.
from the insertion of snippets of video, Gillies does this without costumes and
prosthetics, but by shifting from an easy, conversational tone into his notable
speeches, written by former collaborators and masters of language, Don Watson,
Patrick Cook and Guy Rundle.
describes our recent political history as suffering an extended period of
leadership deficit that is epitomised by our current leader, Tony Abbott, with
his three-word slogans and political gaffes.
targets include a chronological, fools’ gallery of larger-than-life government
leaders, starting with Robert Menzies with his beetle-like eyebrows and the
ludicrously big-eared and babbling Billy McMahon.
moves to Gough Whitlam with his resonant voice and smug attitude, Andrew Peacock’s
orange tan and Malcolm Fraser’s awkwardness and patrician tones.
parade comtinues with Bob Hawke’s famous laughter, flimsy protests and shallow
apologies, Ian Richardson’s back-room backstabbing, Kevin Rudd’s weird hand
gestures and desire for the leadership.
are also detours to a clown-like Ronald Reagan, supercilious Maggie Thatcher
and the Queen, in her 300-room, ivory tower.
a flash of brilliance, Gillies ends with his depiction of a seemingly bumbling John
Howard wearing a dressing gown and seated in a 1950s lounge room, exemplifying backward
a step forward into the past,” say the lyrics of the folksy song we hear, but
Gillies’ satire reminds us that leaders should be taking us boldly into the
future with integrity, passion and honesty.
Review also published in Herald Sun online on Fri 13 March and later in print. KH
Jacob Machin, Gabrielle Scawthorn, Charlie Cousins
at old-fashioned tables in fortyfivedownstairs while peering up at the sensual,
famously nude portrait of Chloe transports us back to Young and Jackson’s pub
in 1940s Melbourne.
raw, Navy recruits, Keith (Charlie Cousins) and his mate, Jimmy (Jacob Machin),
book a room at Y & J’s where they chase girls and rehearse their racy
comedy act for a Navy Concert Party.
Reid’s play, Young and Jackson, contrasts Jimmy and Keith’s fanciful view of
war as a great adventure, with the grim experiences of their shared love
interest, Lorna (Gabrielle Scawthorn), and Keith’s war-traumatised friend, Les
script is gently entertaining, albeit predictable with a rather contrived
ending but, with Wayne Harrison’s direction, it effectively conjures the war
period with 1940s music, clothing and quirky, Aussie and Navy slang.
flexible, in-the-round performing space (design by Dann Barber, Michael Hill)
merges with the audience seating, allowing actors to move amongst the tables to
get close up and personal with the crowd.