Tag: Portland Hotel

REVIEW: Cameron James and Jared Jekyll in PARADISE

Don’t be misled by the picture…

By Margaret Wieringa

Being asked by the usher, ‘Have you got a ticket to Paradise?’ was one of my favourite non-show moments of this year’s Melbourne International Comedy Festival – and what a way to kick off an hour of comedy. By the time I left the room, I was exhausted from laughing.

The premise is that Cameron James and Jared Jekyll are a comedy duo who are invited by a mysterious character to perform at PICF – Paradise Island Comedy Festival. Knowing nothing about it, they head off on an adventure that turns mysterious and dangerous, and it is possible not everyone will return. And there may need to be a hilarious pretend memorial partway through the show.


Once on the island, the pair confront a number of interesting characters including the voodoo chief who shouts in a gibberish cross between rap and the Haka which is translated by another tribe member into a bizarre reggae number. Oh, and there’s the horny heir to the millionaire owner of the island. And not to forget the voyeuristic jungle animals…

These guys are great. Funny, affable and very talented. The show kicks off with their new song, Addiction, which involves some funky guitar, an awful lot of beat-boxing and mime. Big and hilarious mime.

The duo are still relatively new to the comedy world: after coming up through RAW Comedy in 2012 and 2013, Jekyll and James have been busy playing festivals and gigs across the country. It is very difficult to raise yourself above the crowd in a comedy festival with nearly five hundred shows, especially when your time-slot is at 11pm. Yet despite their frankly appalling image in the festival guide, the Locker Room was packed. The audience loved the show, rocking the room with laughter and eagerly participating whenever asked to.

It is fabulous that MICF sees so many familiar names returning and big names coming from overseas, but often my favourite moments come from seeing an act for the first time. Especially when it is an act that clearly has a lot to offer, and hopefully a big future in comedy. It’s a small room and a late night, but Paradise is more than worth the investment.

Venue: Portland Hotel – Locker Room
Dates: 27 March – 19 April (Thurs, Fri and Sat nights) 11pm
Tickets: $20 full, $15 conc
Bookings: http://www.ticketmaster.com.au/, 1300 660 0131300 660 013 or at the door

REVIEW: Emily Taylor’s PET for MICF

Unleash the comedy!

By Margaret Wieringa

Did you have a pet growing up? A cat, a dog, perhaps a guinea pig or a goldfish? Chances are, you probably did. It’s a fascination for many of us, and Emily Taylor taps into our shared experiences to create this hilarious one-woman show.

Emily Taylor in PET

Mind you, it doesn’t feel like one person much of the time; Emily introduces a huge assortment of characters onto the stage to explore the topic. There is the kind-hearted vet for example, who adopts the animals no-one else wants, filling her life with animal friends to the detriment of her human interactions; or the dog trainer with the list of injuries longer and more horrific than you really want to know.

Emily brings these diverse characters together with a series of more traditional stand-up routines: stories from childhood, from early work experiences and all, of course, related to animals. The stories are sweet, funny and, at times, disturbing.

Somehow, Emily is able to manipulate her face in the most mysterious of manners to truly become the animal. Just the twitch of an eyebrow or the tensing of a muscle was enough to start the titters in the audience. But it is when she gives her all, forming grotesque facades that are amazingly close to the animals she is representing, that the real laughter happens.

Emily is not afraid to appear less attractive: the first and, possibly my favourite moment of the whole show, was the initial interaction between a person and a dog and when the physical result of that opening hangs around for some time, it totally won me over to Emily’s humour. A bit later, we see Emily’s impersonation of a horny guinea pig that really and truly has to be seen to be believed – but enough potential spoilers. Go and check out these characters yourself.

Pet is in the tiny Locker Room at the Portland Hotel, and so is bound to sell out quickly. Get organised and get there before you miss out.

Venue: Portland Hotel – Locker Room
Season: 27 March – 20 April, Tues-Sat 6pm, Sun 5pm
Tickets: $15-$20
Bookings: http://www.ticketmaster.com.au/ or 1300 660 0131300 660 013


Come for comedy, and be charmed!

By Jessica Cornish

‘Tis the season for comedy: the 2014 Melbourne International Comedy Festival has begun. Last night I was lucky enough to have tickets for Ivan Aristeguieta’s sold-out preview of Lost in Pronunciation.

Lost in Pronunciation

Performing in the Portland Hotel’s cosy Pool Room, we were treated to an hour of steamy bikram comedy. However, I’m assured the bikram experience was a one-off event due to a broken air conditioner, but to be honest it didn’t make the performance any less enjoyable. He likened our dilemma to a Spanish adage which roughly equated to being trapped inside a soup lid: it defiantly conjured up some strange images in my head, but seemed accurate.

This light-hearted hour of comedy was essentially the highlights of Australian life through the eyes of an exotic Venezuelan. Luckily for Ivan, Australia has been kind to him – until people learn he’s from Adelaide, and then it’s another story entirely…

Making fun of Aussies’ adoration of yeasty vegemite and tomato sauce is a running joke that he subtly weaves into each segment as he segues between family-friendly witty stories and meringue-style covers of beloved Aussie folk songs.

Ivan has great facial expressions and was very charming and charismatic on stage. His comedy style wasn’t aggressive and didn’t rely on belittling people in the crowd. It was happy and harmless fun, and included a dig at our homophobic PM which is always entertaining.

However, at times I did feel as though I had snuck in to an exclusive Latino club. Three-quarters of the crowd were South American, which even included a Venezuelan contingent who adored the show. They definitely embraced the chance to reminisce about life back home and how different life in Australia is, and to laugh at themselves as well. However, the material wasn’t so refined as to be alienating, and I certainly enjoyed the show overall.

Chosen as one of five up-and-coming comedians to participate in Melbourne International Comedy Festival’s The Comedy Zone, Ivan definitely put on a good night’s entertainment and a polished preview performance. He will be performing at the Pool Room until April 20.

Tue-Sat 8.15pm
Sun 7.15pm
Cost: $15 – $22

Bookings: http://www.comedyfestival.com.au/2014/season/shows/lost-in-pronunciation-ivan-aristeguieta

REVIEW: Rosie Rodiadis is UNCLOAKED

Looking under the hood – cabaret-style

By Ross Larkin

Anyone who’s ever worked in a customer service role can attest to the array of fascinating, if at times downright frustrating characters one encounters, and is often obliged to deal with.

As part of the 2013 Melbourne Fringe Festival, Rosie Rodiadis is exorcising, observing and celebrating her own range of experiences had as that of a theatre cloakroom attendant, in her self-penned, one-woman cabaret show Uncloaked.


The confinement and mystique of an old theatre cloakroom, complete with outfits and accessories galore from patrons of every ilk, make for a delightfully indulgent and clever premise where any persona can be explored and brought to life.

Rodiadis showcases her versatility as she frocks up and assumes myriad of characters including an angry Italian diva, a bright seven-year-old girl, a wise old alcoholic and a Yugoslavian whore, amongst many others.

Uncloaked is peppered with relevant and familiar songs, all sung by Rodiadis, several of which she has added her own lyrics and meaning to, and, in turn, provide the more humorous moments of the piece.

Vocally, however, opera is clearly her strength, and thus, the show could benefit from the inclusion of more – a style in which Rodiadis seems most confident.

As she tells the story of her cloakroom-attending days, there is no shying away from bold statements, sexuality and political points of view. Rodiadis tends to succeed particularly when embodying the more brazen, larger-than-life, characters, although ultimately the show is about loneliness and the guises we hide behind, as this isolated performer gradually reveals (and uncloaks) her personal truths.

Uncloaked is playing at the Portland Hotel, 127 Russell St, Melbourne from September 27-29 and October 1 and 4-6 at 8.45pm. Tickets at http://www.melbournefringe.com.au/fringe-festival/show/uncloaked/