Laughter was a popular winner on a racy weekend at Melbourne’s RAW Comedy grand final.

Of all of the internationals returning to Melbourne after their enforced absence, Mark Watson is definitely probably the most delighted to be right here, one thing he makes a degree of yelling at us repeatedly from the facet of the stage in a disarming preamble.

British comedian Mark Watson is back.

British comic Mark Watson is again.Credit:

A substantial portion of the particular present sees Watson – now in his tenth look on the Festival – extolling the virtues of his favorite metropolis and exhibiting a educated affinity for AFL.

The relaxation is private anecdotes about navigating life as a comic in lockdown and being semi-recognised as a ‘second tier’ celeb, delivered in his common mildly manic fashion with copious tangents.

Never shy about getting private, Watson touches on some household points and anxiety-ridden instances, however doesn’t put an excessive amount of on his viewers and no matter chaos he creates is admirably managed, together with throughout an prolonged little bit of crowd work.

Michelle Brasier finds the funny side of being fleeced by a scammer.

Michelle Brasier finds the humorous facet of being fleeced by a scammer.Credit:Simon Schluter

Despite his breakneck strategy, Watson’s focus by no means wanes and a present that often appears to be drifting finishes bang on time. Not ground-breaking maybe, however a persistently gratifying hour from a seasoned performer. It’s good to have him again. Patrick Horan

Michelle Brasier, Reform ★★★★
Arts Centre Melbourne, till April 23

If you have been to supply most comedians at this yr’s pageant a $500 payment to provide you with the narrative construction for his or her present, 99 per cent would take you up on the supply.

That’s primarily what’s occurred with Michelle Brasier – who was fleeced by a scammer on Gumtree over some Pilates gear.

However, there isn’t any “gotcha” second or payback from Brasier, who particulars the connection she developed along with her scammer over many months whereas trying to recoup her losses.

A virtuoso concert violinist, newcomer Floyd Alexander-Hunt provides her own soundtrack.

A virtuoso live performance violinist, newcomer Floyd Alexander-Hunt supplies her personal soundtrack.Credit:

Accompanied by a three-piece band (who have been, sadly, muddled by the Fairfax Studio’s acoustics), Brasier tells the story of how she turned the confidant and even emergency contact for Jacob from Adelaide.

At its coronary heart, Reform is an outreach for empathy, seeing previous humanity’s flaws (even Louis C.Ok.) and a lesson in affinity and compassion. In a world full of bile and snark, it’s a welcome respite. Tyson Wray

Floyd Alexander-Hunt, Highly Strung ★★★
Melbourne Town Hall, till April 24

First, unrequited, unconditional and self. In her debut hour, Floyd Alexander-Hunt makes an attempt to unpack her experiences with 4 varieties of affection – to combined outcomes.


A virtuoso live performance violinist, whereas Alexander-Hunt’s abilities are unquestionable, the instrument’s use feels pointless, if not gimmicky, when solely employed to soundtrack displays of jilted teenager textual content messages, celeb {couples} and the horrors of letters written to Dolly Doctor.

For probably the most half sturdy, the script’s fixed recurring jokes and flippant off-handers as soon as the laughter has died down want strict tightening. The peppering of gags about her boyfriend being underage (don’t fear, he isn’t) and Centrelink are as delicate as a Robodebt letter.

It have to be stated, whereas there’s a heavy reliance on it all through, her crowd work is outstanding and echelons above the prowess you’d think about she ought to maintain at this budding stage of her profession.

With a number of directional tweaks and honing her distinctive experience, Alexander-Hunt ought to turn into one of many extra intriguing abilities on the scene. Tyson Wray

RAW Comedy National Grand Final ★★★★½
Melbourne Town Hall, April 10

For the primary time since 2003, Australia’s largest open mic competitors led to a tie – sending two budding stars to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe So You Think You’re Funny? competitors – which has launched the careers of Dylan Moran, Lee Mack and David O’Doherty.

Opening proceedings, Delhi Buoy (eventual joint runner-up) transformed the complete crowd to Islam by way of the recital of a Rihanna monitor; Cathal Leslie blindsided the gang with an expertly timed bait-and-switch about vaccinations; and Dom McGovern turned up the camp stage to 11 with a graphic lesson for the gang on how you can sneak medicine right into a nightclub.

In some of the disarming units of the night, Blake Pavey, 20, shocked the viewers by joking in regards to the truth he’s probably going to die by age 40 resulting from his cystic fibrosis and, subsequently, he’s now affected by his midlife disaster. It was daring, however delivered with aplomb.

Iona Colville adopted by waxing lyrical a couple of lifetime of bullying resulting from her title; Joshua Coutinho made scintillating juxtapositions between Perth and Afghanistan; Guneet Kaur spoke of her skill to behave as a racial chameleon; and Nathan Powell detailed the perils of ageing but additionally spending time with a lot youthful staff.

Comedian Blake Pavey says he’s in his midlife crisis.

Comedian Blake Pavey says he’s in his midlife disaster.Credit:

Heather Joan (additionally joint runner-up) explored the difficulties of getting a interval as a trans lady, whereas Aves Robins additionally riffed in regards to the issues of being transgender, disappointing her dad and mom and in contrast her expertise to being a Mac person having to make use of a Windows working system.

However, inside 30 seconds of hitting the stage there was little doubt Alexandra Hudson can be jetting to Scotland. Referring to herself as a ‘criplet’ (crippled triplet), Hudson relished being on stage, poking enjoyable at her personal cerebral palsy with tales of sharing Endone along with her grandmother, her bemusement at able-bodied individuals having fun with strolling recreationally, and a scorching story about her kink for under liking to have intercourse in Queensland resulting from a technicality making it unlawful.

Hudson can be joined in Scotland by Bron Lewis, who gained over judges with jokes about her hometown of Brisbane, the realities of getting a COVID child, and her disdain for the establishment of marriage.

As we’ve come to count on from RAW over the previous three many years – they’ve unearthed one more 12 golden abilities that ought to turn into mainstays of the pageant. Tyson Wray

Rhys Nicholson, Rhys! Rhys! Rhys! ★★★★½
Forum Theatre, till April 24

The present title doesn’t lie. This is a really Rhys Nicholson present. And there may be completely nothing fallacious with that. Quite the alternative actually.

Comedian Rhys Nicholson hosted the Comedy Festival’s opening night gala.

Comedian Rhys Nicholson hosted the Comedy Festival’s opening evening gala.Credit:Monica Pronk

Topics can be acquainted to followers as Nicholson marvels on the confidence of youth, yearns for drama amongst pals and mines the navigation of a long-term relationship in lockdown, sprinkling in some hilariously efficient pretend bounce scares to maintain the straights within the room on their toes.

There is a few self-reflection as Nicholson touches on his non-binary identification and ADHD tendencies, however whereas he doesn’t omit severe factors about who he’s and the way that may nonetheless be considered by society, he commendably doesn’t increase on areas he has but to completely think about, and the expertly delivered rat-a-tat joke fee by no means flags.

And as immaculately structured because the multi-layered materials is, Nicholson isn’t thrown by unscripted occasions, leveraging a lighting malfunction and stumbling crowd member for bonus laughs with out lacking a beat.

At one stage he seeks forgiveness for complaining about feeling outdated now he’s (barely) in his 30s, and also you’re reminded simply how exceptional it’s to see somebody so completely accountable for their work and magnificence at an age when so many friends are but to seek out their voice.

As good as we’ve come to count on. Which is to say, excellent. Patrick Horan

Judith Lucy & Denise Scott, Still Here ★★★★★
Playhouse, Arts Centre, till April 24

Judith Lucy (left) and Denise Scott are Still Here.

Judith Lucy (left) and Denise Scott are Still Here.Credit:

National treasures Judith Lucy and Denise Scott are splendidly in sync, replaying the trials and tribulations of the worldwide pandemic, together with the dreariness of the “big kahuna” lockdown.

Shamelessly sharing intimate particulars about buckling our bodies, they discover the laughs in arthritis and chin hair.

The pair is seemingly shocked, whereas additionally probably happy, to study thirty-somethings have turned as much as a present that references the likes of Denise Drysdale and Norman Gunston.

When an overzealous, barely creepy viewers member seems a bit of too eager to get entangled, Lucy expertly shuts him down. Meanwhile, the appearance of liturgical dancing provides to the silliness.

Redfern Electrical’s John Cruckshank.

Redfern Electrical’s John Cruckshank.Credit:

It’s prime theatrical stand-up from two residing legends.

A harp, wine, two armchairs, crochet and faux bricks serve to boost a joyous, unrelentingly amusing present. Donna Demaio

John Cruckshank, Choof Meridian ★★★★
Coopers Inn, April 10

“There’s shows up at the Town Hall if you like.” Riffing on his outsider standing, John Cruckshank gently chides his crowd at any time when certainly one of his off-kilter gags doesn’t totally land, encouraging them to hunt out extra mainstream fare in the event that they don’t like his explicit stylings. Fair to say he doesn’t must do it too typically whereas delivering some of the persistently humorous hours of the Festival to a rapturous full home on the Coopers Inn.

Sneaking into city from Sydney’s comedy underground and minor on-line stardom generated by his Redfern Electrical YouTube doco, Cruckshank deftly harnesses the potent Aussie vitality of the funniest oddball within the pub and makes use of it to energy some distinctive materials.

Cruckshank brings a variety of stoner attraction and a few surprising vulnerability to believably real private anecdotes – a company gig he took for the “meat industy” on a ship, had a “bikie vibe” when he arrived – alongside out-there thought bubbles just like the emasculation of contemporary televisions, the origins of the Picnic chocolate bar and the acceptable temperament of firing squads.

Cracking fare from an inevitable cult hero, if he isn’t one already. Don’t sleep on his subsequent flying go to. Patrick Horan

Andy Matthews and Alasdair Tremblay-Birchall, “My” “Client” “Is” “Innocent”★★★★
Trades Hall, till April 24

Rather like their 12-syllable title, Andy Matthews and Alasdair Tremblay-Birchall current one other present stuffed with intentionally long-winded wordsmithery, clever puns and sentence backflips that put the onus on crowd work, i.e. the viewers should put within the laborious yards to maintain abreast of what the blazes is happening.

The premise is inviting: we, the ticket holders, are the jury for a comeback case for the attorneys Gargoyle and Todd.

Alasdair Tremblay-Birchall and Andy Matthews return.

Alasdair Tremblay-Birchall and Andy Matthews return.Credit:

The case is as a lot a couple of stolen spouse as it’s a stolen hat, which permits the Lionel Hutz-esque barristers to ratchet up sexual rigidity between them and dispense zingers: “Never make assumptions, it makes an ass of you and umption.”


Like 90 per cent of exhibits on the pageant, it might use a 10-minute trim; all of the wordplay and call-backs turn into an excessive amount of of factor.

“My” “Client” “Is” “Innocent” deserves a full room to maintain momentum rolling whereas they crack smart with enjoyable information similar to “Baby geese can recognise their mothers from inside the egg.” You don’t say!

Following the success of Teleport, that is one other gripping two-hander that throws up almost each trick within the trick e-book, together with an precise Trick Book. Mikey Cahill

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