Review: Melbourne International Comedy Festival Roadshow at HOTA

By Tara Ramsay


The Melbourne International Comedy Festival Roadshow has, I guess you could say, hit the road! On the list of stops was the Gold Coast’s Home Of The Arts (HOTA), and after a long, arduous day at work I was certainly looking forward to some much needed comic relief. The thing I love about stand-up comedy audiences is that it’s a pretty open group - we all come here for the same thing, a good laugh and in a world that has plenty of doom and gloom (especially now with the election looming), it’s nice to just sit with a bunch of strangers and laugh like crazy people. With that in mind, this line-up did not disappoint.


Our MC for the evening was Daniel Connell. He bounced onto stage and began to warm us up with a little bit about where he came from and a hilarious story about how Aussies getting married overseas is overrated - he knows from experience you see and we delighted in his relatable, conversational comedy. I can see why they chose Daniel to be the host, he is likeable and slightly awkward and does a fantastic job at drawing the audience in whilst keeping us laughing throughout. It didn’t take long before he interacted with the front row, and thus Clinton - who hailed from Mt Tamborine became a constant presence throughout the night. Daniel’s bits started off light and then somewhere in between the wedding and Clinton from Mt Tamborine it turned extremely dark, which of course we all found amusing and he said he was just testing the waters to see how dark he could go and still get a reaction, it helped him learn what type of an audience we were, and let’s just say the roar of laughter throughout the dark tale gave us all away.


Once we were well and truly warmed up Daniel introduced us to our first act, Rahul Subramanian who hails from Mumbai. Rahul stepped onto the stage and announced he was the ‘International’ in The Melbourne International Comedy Festival Roadshow. He was so comfortable on stage and walked around the space, stopping briefly to add some physical comedy for affect as his comedy ranged from hypothetical situations and audience interaction to the observational. He had us in stitches when he analysed a crocodile pamphlet he got from up north, he was my favourite of the night.


Daniel came back to introduce our second act of evening, Josh Earl, who you may have seen on Spicks and Specks. His comedy was fast paced but he didn’t wander as much as the other acts on the night, his act consisted of some nostalgic humour that won majority the audience over and of course Clinton in the front row got a talking to. I loved how the acts played back on bits from the earlier comedians. They were all so different, but those little touches added a nice flow to the night...not that I think Clinton would agree!


Josh took us out with a song about skyping with his Mum that had the whole audience crying with laughter, because you know, all parents and technology.


After interval we were introduced to our only female comedian of the night, and only Queenslander - Danielle Walker, certainly the quirkiest act of the night. The audience were still in good spirits, perhaps even more so after few spirits during interval. Danielle’s act is the only one where I noticed audience members make ‘ew’ noises, thanks to some of Danielle’s gruesome descriptions of her ‘family christmas ham’ that were still laugh out loud funny, oh and she had images to assist us in her storytelling, just in case her descriptions didn’t cut it. Danielle also had an infectious laugh, so even if one of her bits didn’t land all that well, the audience would still erupt with laughter with her. She was certainly one of the most original female comedians I have seen.


After another quick visit from our MC Daniel, it was on to our last act of the night, the headliner and Canadian Josh Hastings. Josh was the most political of the night and was the only one to mention our Prime Minister Scott Morrison, and of course, the infamous Donald Trump. He also had the most to say about the Gold Coast and the most audience interaction and yes, you guessed it, Clinton was amongst his targets, although the woman falling asleep in the front row did get a talking to. He pointed out our faults as an audience, as there were a few moments that didn’t land and he felt he needed more appreciation, which of course, then made us laugh.


Support this motley bunch of comedians and check if you are one of the stops on this hilarious roadshow, it might even help you beat the winter blues, if only for a few hours.

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All opinions and thoughts expressed within reviews on Theatre Travels are those of the writer and not of the company at large.

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