Laugh out loud at the 2014 Melbourne Comedy Festival

Cal WilsonCelebrating its 28th year in 2014, the Melbourne International Comedy Festival is one of the three largest comedy festivals in the world, alongside Edinburgh Festival Fringe and Montreal’s Just for Laughs Festival.

Featuring more than 450 shows, the 2014 program is an eclectic mix of familiar and not so familiar local artists and performances with a good sprinkling of international treats. Australian Arts Review takes a look at some performances that are worth checking out.

Bob, Sweat and Tears
Athenaeum Theatre: 28 March – 20 April 2014
Cabaret fans will rejoice as beloved gay icon Bob Downe returns to Melbourne bringing audiences his new production Bob, Sweat and Tears. Australia’s Prince of Polyester is finally manning up, performing a brand new bunch of classic hits and offering up a laugh-a-minute roller-coaster ride of shocks and frocks!

The Boy with Tape on his Face: MORE TAPE
Forum Theatre – Upstairs: 27 March – 20 April 2014

The Boy is back! The multi-award-winning, NZ native returns to Melbourne for the first time in five years, with the show that wowed the London West End and sold out at the Edinburgh Fringe in 2010, 2011, 2012 & 2013. Funny, magical, innovative, spectacular and inspiring. The Boy with Tape On his Face has won the hearts and minds of the critics and public alike. This is stand up with no talking, drama with no acting and punch lines with no words. Come and see the silent sensation that’s making so much noise.

Circus Under My Bed
Fairfax – Arts Centre Melbourne: 9 – 19 April 2014.
Direct from a sell-out season at Sydney Opera House and making their return to the Melbourne, Australia’s premiere youth circus troupe Flying Fruit Fly Circus bring their electric energy and magical style with Circus Under My Bed. Following Celeste, a young girl lost in her imagination, she dreams of a make believe circus hidden in her bedroom. As the circus she dreams of comes to life, we share an adventure full of amazing and whimsical characters.

Fool’s Gold
Melbourne Town Hall: 27 March – 20 April 2014
Frank Woodley is back with a brand new solo show, Fool’s Gold. One of our greatest comedic talents, Woodley is the master of classic comedy shtick with an astutely creative modern twist. Australia’s most visually compelling comedian’s natural habit is the stage; he is in-his-bones funny, and brings physicality and whimsical slapstick to life. Fool’s Gold is sure to give you that tingly feeling you’re left with after you’ve laughed like a crazy person.

It Could Have Been Me
Melbourne Town Hall: 27 March – 20 April 2014
It Could Have Been Me is a new hour of stand-up and characters from Cal Wilson and her alter-egos, all live on stage. She has shown these character acting skills to the rest of the country on shows like Thank God You’re Here and The Wedge, alongside Rebel Wilson, and was team captain on the TV comedy hit of 2013, Slideshow.

Mother Bare
Fairfax – Arts Centre Melbourne: 27 March – 20 April 2014.
Denise Scott has never been one to shy away from sharing more than most, her life’s embarrassments have been laid bare for years and delivered laughs to appreciative audiences across the country. A brilliant storyteller, Mother Bare will see Denise tackle a stand-up comedy show about motherhood.

Locker Room – The Portland Hotel: 27 March – 20 April 2014

Emily Taylor returns with her own particular brand of surreal satire in Pet. Weaving multiple characters through an epic tale, she masterfully unleashes a smorgasbord of odd, complex and endearing people all living the highs, lows and psychological  implications of pet ownership. Riddled with furry friends since childhood, Emily has worked in pet shops, grooming salons and is currently owned by three cats. Keen to avoid her fate as a crazy old cat lady, she takes this timely opportunity to ask some tough questions.

The Exhibitionist
Melbourne Town Hall: 27 March – 20 April 2014
Hannah Gadsby is back with a brand new show, The Exhibitionist. Hannah’s shows are remarkable for their intellect, clarity and her capacity to turn heartbreaking true stories into soaring and hilarious monologues.

The Umbilical Brothers: KiDShoW (Not Suitable for Children)
Playhouse – Arts Centre Melbourne: 27 March – 13 April 2014
The Umbilical Brothers return to Melbourne with their brand-new, adults-only children’s variety show The Umbilical Brothers: KiDShoW (Not Suitable for Children). Inspired by their time creating an actual children’s TV series, this show flips the children’s television format on its head with an unhealthy dose of violence, sexual references, drug taking and very frequent coarse language.

The Comedy Theatre: 25 March – 20 April 2014
Wil Anderson is one of the biggest name in Australian comedy. His influence across TV, radio, podcasting and the Twitter-sphere may make him a household name, but it is stand-up comedy where Wil truly dominates. Each year he only gets better, sharpened by constant global touring, a sparkling intellect and an eagle eye for the hypocrisies, absurdities and the plain truths of modern life.

The Melbourne International Comedy Festival runs from 26 March – 20 April 2014. For more information, visit: for details.

Image: Cal Wilson