[This post has been in draft for months. Waiting at the E&E has given me the chance to finish it!]
At the beginning of every Melbourne International Comedy Festival I am determined to go to a bunch of shows but only ever end up seeing one or two. I continued the trend this year seeing two, but they were both quality.
Kitson, one of my all-time favourite comedic performers, slipped mostly under the radar this year, performing a string of small shows at RRR studios. Tickets were sold at Polyester records and, despite very limited advertising, sold out quickly. Thanks Desci for the heads-up!
The show was called "Work In Progress" as he was trialling out new material to be complete for the Edinburgh Comedy Festival. Tickets were remarkably cheap at $14 contributing to the rapid sales.
Work in Progress was an apt title. The show didn’t have his usual…flow. Numerous times he rhetorically asked "What was I saying?", his stutter was stronger than usual (less rehearsed?) and his material still needed some polish. However, it was Kitson. The man is a genius; I’d listen to him talk about tax returns. I just love the left-of-centre way he looks at the world and his emotional, human, stories. Funny, funny man. If you’ve never seen Kitson live go do it next chance you get.
Australian lad Minchin kinda exploded on to the Comedy Festival scene a couple of years ago winning over audiences by performing his rare breed of musical comedy.
Obviously a talented musician – a gifted pianist with a great voice – it turned out that he also had a talent for writing insightful lyrics that were intelligent and funny as hell.
As expected, Minchin nailed every one of his songs. From Ginger (a song about redheads – he’s a blood-nut himself though you wouldn’t know it with his crazed hairstyle) to I Love Boobies he was pitch-perfect and hilarious. However the most memorable part of the show was where he delivered a nine-minute spoken-word piece about a dinner party he attended where he argued with a beautiful woman who rejected scientific claims (Minchin, a self-professed geek, was completely in his element). The delivery was extraordinary. Nine minutes, no prompting, nothing written down, just Minchin and his killer diatribe. Sensational!
His only real weakness is with audience interaction. When he’d get out from behind the piano and start talking with the audience he was only adequate. Some people have that knack (Ross Noble and Arj Barker come to mind), Minchin hasn’t yet acquired it.
Still, a very polished, funny show and I can recommend him to anyone. Thanks to Jen for organising the (front row!) tickets.
Oh, you should also go check out Rock ‘n’ Roll Nerd. It’s a documentary about his early days as a struggling comic and is both touching and inspiring.
Hopefully next year I’ll see more shows!