The 5pm Sketch Showcase: Review

1 Comment 11 May 2015

It’s Saturday. Saturday at last! After a long week of school, dancing, sailing, violin and orchestra I am ready to hit the town for a night out. So off I go with my mum to the Imperial Hotel on the penultimate night of the Melbourne International Comedy Festival, to see The 5pm Sketch Showcase. Driving into the city at dusk, we pass innumerable newlyweds outside Parliament House and the Victoria Barracks having photos taken in front of the bluestone and ivy in all its autumnal splendor. It’s very Melbourne, which is what the evening’s theme turns out to be. As we walk past Russell Street into Spring Street we see festive crowds bursting from the theatres where Strictly Ballroom and Dirty Dancing are being performed. The city is alight with energy! We walk round the corner to The Imperial Hotel and brace ourselves for a show we have never heard of with comedians whose names are unknown to us. There’s something special about the unknown – a little tingle of excitement runs through me as we walk up the stairs and into the room; the atmosphere muffled by the buzz of the bar downstairs and the quiet chatter of the expectant audience upstairs. The audience was a very Melbourne crowd. We laughed when things were funny, but did not give our laughter generously. Here is my report of the four comedians that gave their appetizers that evening.

Justin Hamilton
A great start to the show. He is a great comedian for all ages with his jokes kept innocent and light-hearted. His boss’ apparent past lives (such as being an American-Indian girl as well as being Jesus) and his friends perceptions of his appearance and intentions (“Apparently my face is innocent…”) were the focus of his 10 minute set. He was entertaining and left me satisfied.

Ben Russell
He was very funny. This was a taste tester was for his award-nominated show Tokyo Hotel. He gave the audience the option of impersonations or sketches, we chose the first one. Michael Cain, Morgan Freeman and Owen Wilson were just some of the people who took to the stage. Disappointingly, Russell made a point of not impersonating females from “fear of seeming stereotypical”. I wish he’d given it a shot! Despite this, he was definitely the highlight of the evening and I encourage people to go see him in his next show.

Timothy Clarke
Whatever you do, don’t ask about his appearance! Quite a spiel will follow about his moustache, big ears and his role as a monkey (as far as I could tell) in his show Chimp Cop (which actually sounds very good). Some people find the whole putting-oneself-down thing very funny. For me, it’s a bit boring. Despite this, the rest of his performance was very good. He took a unique take on audience participation which was successful. While Clarke seemed somewhat new to the industry, he did a good job and entertained the audience.

Katerina Vrana
Again, having a few laughs at the expense of putting oneself down is not very entertaining. Katerina’s time mainly consisted of extremely sexual jokes that in my opinion don’t belong in comedy at all. Another thing Katerina brought up was sexual harassment. I’m not so sure this fits in comedy either; it’s great that people are talking about it and putting it in the spotlight, but do we want to talk about it in a way that makes it seem light-hearted and something to joke about? I don’t think so. Katerina was ok. But while she went down well with audience, I’m not comfortable with her humour.

The evening ended perfectly with a loud applause for all the comedians and quiet chatter followed by a sigh of relief and content as the audience filed out of the stuffy, yet cosy room. The corridor filled and the comedians gave out pamphlets to everyone for their individual shows. We walked out of the raucous bar of the Imperial Hotel and straight down to Primavera Gelateria on Spring Street. I recommend them as highly as I recommend Ben Russel. After a very satisfying and distinctly ‘Melbourne’ evening, I am now excited to go back into the city some time soon for more unique shows and experiences our city has to offer. And as for the Comedy Festival; I only wish I had gone to see more. Melbourne Comedy Festival 2016, here I come!

Your Comments

1 comment

  1. Gabrielle says:

    Interesting article! Ben Russell is hilarious! :)

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