Comedy Festival: Best of British

Best of British‘ is a rollicking, bollocking laugh of the truly British kind. Full of jokes, stories and sledgehammer wit, the show moves along at a great pace as it showcases four British comedians in one hour. I got along to the upstairs bar at the Exford Hotel on Easter Friday and shared laughs with the packed house of British expats, backpackers and working holidayers, plus the occasional Aussie.

The line-up on the night was Brennan Reece, Ray Bradshaw, Barry Castagnola and Carey Marx.  Each act had about 15 minutes on stage, and they sure made use of their time. Brennan Reece tricked the audience into thinking that he was a fragile 2016 Frank Spencer, only to sting us into laughter with his deliciously rude story about a family stag night. Scottish comedian Ray Bradshaw got the audience going with his reflections on the perils of being a redhead in the Aussie climate. Barry Castagnola brought his own style of physical humour to his story about a Lionel Ritchie concert. Finally, Carey Marx fulfilled our expectations of ‘the whinging pom’ and had the audience in stitches as he recounted his battle with hotel room light switches. All of the comedians demonstrated why they are headline acts in their own right with their winning combinations of word-wit, crowd control and self-deprecating humour.

Part of the appeal for this Aussie audience member was the outrageous Brit accents that we have come to love from all of our favourite British comedy shows. The more the beer flowed, the thicker the accents became. The show was punctuated by audience members running to the bar in between, and in the middle of acts. This added to the party feeling of getting together for a pint with folks from “back home” in the UK.

This show comes with a language warning if you are offended by those unspeakable words that get beeped out of radio shows, and the odd crass joke might make you squirm a bit.  But if you like your comedy raw and British, this is the show to see.

‘Best of British’ runs from March 23 to April 17 at The Exford Hotel. 

-Kate Marsh
Katie Marsh is now celebrating her one year anniversary in Melbourne after having moved from sunny Perth.  Overwhelmed by the choice of things to do in Melbourne, she often wonders why it took so long to move here.

Disclosure: The Plus Ones were invited guests of ‘Best of British’.