How have I missed Ali McGregor‘s show up until now, when she has been doing them for a decade! It just shows how big the Melbourne Comedy Festival has become.
Ali, resplendent in black chiffon and wearing a sequinned turban belted out a song or two with her divine, opera-trained voice, then reclined on a chaise lounge to watch her chosen acts perform for us. In between acts, she rose to treat us to more songs, even pulling out an Omnichord to play with her rendition of AC/DC’s ‘You Shook Me All Night Long’. For homework, she mentioned that we can find Celine Dion and Anastacia’s version of that same song, which has been on a number of ‘worst covers of all time’ lists, online.
Her invited guest acts were all amazing, with one exception that I’m pretending the Men in Black have erased from my memory. Asher Treleaven‘s contributions involved perverted use of a red diabolo (a large yo-yo-like object) and a wicked Mills and Boone reading. Denis Lock blew the most amazing bubbles, including a rotating carousel of them! Jake Johannsen made us think deeply about the value of hamsters while Tom Ballard also impressed with his thought-provoking stand-up routine.
This show won us over in so many ways. Ali’s voice is superb and she has a band to match. The acts were exceptional. Beyond that, Ali and her band were obviously enjoying the acts as we were. When we saw Ali and Tam (the double bass player) and the others laughing as we were, it was as though we had been invited to Ali’s fantasy lounge room, a wonderful world full of merriment and excitement.
After over 90 minutes, we walked out wondering how the time went so fast, despite the less-than-comfortable wooden seats. With so much talent on stage, this was definitely the best show I’ve seen this year. Denis Lock won’t be around for the final two shows, but I’m sure Ali will have someone wonderful lined up to replace him.
Craig Macbride usually prefers roller coasters to carousels, but has to make an exception for ones made of bubbles.
‘Ali McGregor’s Late-Nite Variety-Nite Night’ has two more shows, 15 and 16 April, at the Famous Spiegeltent at Arts Centre Melbourne. The venue is accessible.
Check out our guide to the Melbourne International Comedy Festival for more great shows.