Melbourne International Comedy Festival: Best of the Fest

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This year’s Melbourne International Comedy Festival is almost upon us once again. With over 500 shows and close to 150 different venues and rooms, choosing the right shows to fit your bill of comedy can be an overwhelming endeavour. To narrow down such an extensive list is no easy task either, especially when considering how to highlight what would be considered the best of the fest.

Comedy is a diverse beast, so for me this year I am going to go with variety. Here are some selections that cover a broad range of comedy styles and approaches that should serve as a good starting point for those who wish to experience some of the best our local talent has to offer and a very select smattering of my favourite internationals.

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Solo Shows:

Jimmy James Eaton – Jimmy vs. Jimmy
A masterful improviser and performer. This show is easily a logical choice following his impressive resume of previous festival performances.

Kate Dehnert – Pony Yell
After a very successful 2014, Kate’s show and unique comedy is tipped to impress and garner large numbers. ‘Pony Yell’ comes recommended as a wonderful excursion.

Ronny Chieng – You Don’t Know What You’re Talking About
Ronny Chieng knows how to deliver comedy and consistently hit the mark. A pure pleasure to watch.

Becky Lucas – High Tide
Tagged as a aspiring up-and-comer, and one to watch as she makes an impression throughout the festival and beyond.

Joshua Ladgrove – Dr. Professor Neal Portenza
Joshua Ladgrove is a renowned character performer, starring in three shows in this year’s festival. ‘Dr. Professor Neal Portenza’ is a wonderfully diabolic experience.

Multi-bill Shows:

Wander Women
These funny ladies are generating a buzz with their varying styles of comedy. This is a collaboration that shouldn’t be missed.

Rose Callaghan and Mates 2: Return of the Mates
Rose has a hilarious and charming style, and with a variety of guest performers, this show is a winning choice for a successful night out.

Sinful Stories
Devilish tales, performed by a different line-up of performers each night. A great way to top off a night of comedy — and to see a great lineup of comics and storytellers to boot.

Character-Based Performances:

Emily Taylor – Backwards
Emily’s sustained style of performance and masterful art of portraying multiple characters is a wonder to watch. A highly recommended experience.

Sam Marzden – Peculiar Avenue
Another pick of the festival that showcases the incredible talent of performing multiple characters over a 50-minute run. Thirty of them, in fact; all woven within an engaging narrative.

International Acts:

Ross Noble – Tangentleman
I think it’s his eyes or my love of improv. Either way every time I see Ross Noble perform I leave with a hearty dose of satisfaction.

Russell Kane – Smallness
Russell has a quiff to rival Ruki’s (one of the founders of The Plus Ones)! I saw him back in 2011 and loved every minute. Smallness looks like a show that focuses on perspective or its lack there-of. It’s the first time he’s returning to Melbourne since 2011 and I’m definitely going.

Stephen K AmosWelcome To My World
Genius. That’s the only word for this man. I still have very fond memories about his musings over a trip to Ballarat (a trip back in time, in his words) from his 2008 show! Whilst I doubt he needs our promotional help you simply must get down to one of his performances.

Other Picks:

Ryan Coffey – Heartbreaker
With his unique vocals and creative uses of the loop pedal, Ryan Coffey’s style of one-man musical comedy is clever, and most certainly catchy.

Improvised musical theatre is not an easy discipline, yet these are the people that make it utterly impressive. Impromptunes are running with two shows in this year’s festival. Catch one or both of their shows and see the magic unfold for yourself.

These are just a few selections of the diverse experiences awaiting you at this year’s festival, including huge international names and variety acts. Grab a guide, mark out a plan, and get involved, Melbourne!

Corey M. Glamuzina is a Melbourne-based performer and writer with an avid involvement in the art of theatre and film.

The Melbourne International Comedy Festival runs 25 March–19 April 2015.

Enter The Plus Ones’ Ultimate Comedy Festival Giveaway!