MICF 2021 Revolutionary recommendations – Catching Jack

Let’s face it, 2020 was awful. For many Melburnians, the last-minute cancellation of Melbourne International Comedy Festival was the first sign of just how bad things would get.

It’s a new year now. Yay! And with that dumpster fire behind us, MICF rises like a phoenix once more. You heard right, live comedy is back in town—and this time around it’s more homegrown than ever!

The coming of a new festival season will always warm my little heart as I see collaborators both old and new with their very own festival shows.

Here is my first Revolutionary Recommendation for 2021:

Big Big Big – Catching Jack

25 Mar – 4 Apr

Three detectives and one rat will stop at nothing to take down Jack the Ripper. Separated in the darkness, they’ll need the help of new characters and old friends along the way.

Millie Holten is one-third of Big Big Big (with Ella Lawry and Madi Savage). This trio did not let lockdown get in the way of productivity. As well as preparing for this show Big Big Big released The Candyman, a thrilling comedy podcast series that investigates the harrowing events of Roald Dahl’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

Millie appeared in three #QuestInnPodcast episodes as Dt. Susan Sarandon way back in 2018.

Catching Jack is playing now.

Get your tickets and show details at: https://www.comedyfestival.com.au/2021/shows/catching-jack

Featured Podcast: In Your Dreams

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Gavin and Hugh McLean are brothers. But above all else, they’re friends. And above all that again, they’re sleep specialists.

Together they are the designers of the revolutionary McLean Dream Machine©, a device that allows a person to experience their dreams more vividly than ever and have them recorded for future observation.

Creator/performers Jayden Masciulli and Daniel Moore have struck gold with the premise and execution of their eight-episode (so far) podcast. I can’t get enough of improv when performers are encouraged to push their imagination into the weird and whimsical, and this little show is the perfect vehicle for this to happen.

Each episode follows a simple formula by beginning with an informal pre-show chat between Jayden, Daniel and their guests of the week. Following this, the meat of the show kicks off with the McLean brothers characters in their shop being visited by a customer who’s turned up to experience the McLean Dream Machine©. As soon as the client is ushered into the machine, we get to experience their dreams.

The sense of freedom with this stream-of-consciousness approach for the performers is palpable, and a perfect fit to the improv comedy style on display. The ideas, locations, and even characters fluctuate over the course of the episode until the dream ends and the character wakes up. It gets a little crazy at times, but it’s never a bad thing when it does.

Additionally, the inspired sound design that includes effects and audio tricks never overshadows the performances and succeeds in contributing to an immersive experience for the listener.

I’d like to take a moment to add a special shout-out to whoever is responsible for the falsetto in the opening theme. Brilliant stuff!

You may also recognise a voice or two on the huge guest roster that includes:
Aisling McGrogan, Alice Allan, Doug Lyons, Elyce Phillips, Fiannah de Rue, Hayley Tantau, Indiana Kiely, Josh Chodziesner, Lewis Mulholland, Matt Jenner, Millie Holten, Ryan Zorzut, Shane Henry, Simon Hawkings, Simon McCulloch, and Taylor Griffiths.

Both Daniel and Jayden are established writers and performers. Jayden hit my radar as one third of his award-nominated comedy group Hit By A Blimp (tickets for their new show WARP are selling fast!) and I discovered Daniel Moore and this very podcast through his on-point portrayal of the greatest showman that is Hew Jakkman in the second season of Why Are You here? With Dr Karen Debbie Cradle PhD.

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Hit By A Blimp – WARP

Already a fan of The Quest Inn at the Centre of the Universe and Space Junk? You’re going to love In Your Dreams.

Featured Event: Liz presents You’re Making A Scene

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Have you ever posted a video of a stranger in a public space because their actions struck you as strange or significant? How many times have you witnessed an unusual scene in your daily life only to then tell this story over and over again to your friends? When does someone else’s experience become our own?

Indiana Kiely and Simon Hawkings are no strangers to improvised comedy and, like me, you’ll be pleased to know that the duo have joined forces to perform their own brand of absurdist, observational and character-based comedy as Liz in their very own show You’re Making A Scene for the Melbourne International Comedy Festival 2020.

‘Nothing short of a delight.’ – PopCulture-y

You may recognise Indiana as the voice of Katherine Wilder from our little podcast The Quest Inn at the Centre of the Universe. As for Simon, well, he may not officially be one of the Quest Inn crew, but he does hold the trophy for being our most frequent returning guest. 

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My introduction to the dynamic performing prowess of the pair was way back when we recorded A Professional Moment from the podcast’s first season. It was this episode that Simon debuted the character of Katherine’s on again/off again love interest Cedric the dwarf and it was the chemistry they shared that had me hooked. It was also this chemistry that injected a sense of pathos and elevated the character relationship from a side-story into an integral arc of the first season. Simon also returned for a second season episode as King Bleedon in We Are One Unit.

Outside of the #QuestInnPodcast, I’ve worked with both Simon and Indiana on a variety of projects including Simon’s debut solo sketch show Kiwifruit: An Autobiography and the podcast Why Are You Here? With Karen Debbie Cradle PhD, and I can honestly say that every single time I’m both inspired and delighted by the quality of their work.

It was a pleasant surprise when earlier this year Liz gave us some short sketch videos in the lead-up to announcing You’re Making A Scene.

You’re Making A Scene commences from the moment the audience begins to line up and takes full flight once everyone is seated. Two audience members will make themselves known to you — mourners, long lost high school friends, rival theatre critics, parents of the performer — people whose private lives spill into the public domain.

Sound like your cup of tea? Tickets are available now, so get them while you still can!

And if that’s not enough, this hard-working team have put together a podcast to complement the show. Three episodes in (with more still to come), each week delivers another pair of characters to enjoy.

Raising Celebrity ChildrenIn Dennis and Marie’s Interstate Adventures – Melbourne Edition the familial hosts from Ipswich recap a recent trip to Melbourne to visit their son, Richie.

Are you Serious is all style with fashionistas Brendan and Heather.

Raising Celebrity Children features Hollywood royalty from yesteryear Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton discussing the pitfalls of long-haired children.

And yes, there’s more to come, so get on and subscribe where you can and if you’re in Melbourne for the festival, get along to the show!

WAYH_cover(Note: Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton also appear in two time-bending Why Are You Here? episodes – and I can’t recommend these enough!)

 

 

Find more Liz on Facebook and Instagram. Get tickets for Liz presents You’re Making a Scene. Discover the podcast.

Blog: A Matter Of Time (and Randy Adeva)

It’s been almost two years since we tried to reboot our little podcast as The Spudcast, and our guests for that singular episode were a couple of improv comedy nerds named Beau Windon and Randy Adeva.

Really, this interview was my introduction into the world of improv – a performance style that I had little respect for, and knew even less about.

That conversation with RanBeau (as they were collectively known) led me to do some homework, and I came to realise that many of my favourite actors, comedians and performers used elements of improv in much of their best work.
Randy also mentioned in that little chat that he was wanting to get into standup.

So yes, after a decent chunk of life, here we all are: I’ve teamed up with Beau (and some other wonderfully talented people) to produce The Quest Inn at the Centre of the Universe (link) and after honing his standup skills over the interim, Randy is now doing his first MICF show.

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Isaac Jones & Randy Adeva – Cool

It’s a funny old thing, but when you’re spending your days just chipping away at a project, it’s easy to lose sight of the big picture and you can forget just how far you (and those around you) have come.

I’ve spent a lot of time not doing much – drifting in the ocean, as it were – clinging for dear life to the life-preserver that is my little projects. It’s taken a while, but I feel like I’ve finally got my feet back on dry land.

There’s a lot of great stuff happening at MICF this year and it’s the perfect time to try something new, so why not get out there to catch Randy before he becomes the next big thing.

We’ve all come a long way, baby.