We take a look at the Greek flavoured shows at this year’s Melbourne International Comedy Festival.
Now in its 28th year, the Melbourne International Comedy Festival (MICF) is one of the largest ‘funny’ events outside of the Edinburgh Fringe. It’s a month-long laugh-fest that features international and local comedians performing – in some cases – night after night to tickle your funny bone. And given that the festival is held in the city that hosts one of the largest Greek populations outside of Athens, it’s no wonder there are more than enough Hellenic themed laughs on the menu. Penni Pappas explores some of the Greek flavoured shows that are on offer at this year’s MICF:
A Date With Effie: Looking For Love… And Child Support! Mary Coustas’ Effie has been Australia’s most lovable and iconic boofhead for nearly thirty years now. Her show combines what it’s like to date a ‘cultural icon’ but who is now not only looking for love, but child support for her baby. In an interview with Neos Kosmos, we asked Effie why she thinks she’s so sought after by bachelors not only Australia wide, but in Greece. “They want a piece of me because I am prime real estate like Greece is in Europe. I may not come with islands, but I come with assets that are very much lauded by your average person – fame, Logies, things like that.” She adds that the Greek community see her as a prized possession, like Greece does with the Acropolis, or Elgin Marbles. “I am something they adore, but can’t quite access. Something that was there, something they want back and something that’s not easy to get.” Yarraville Club, 135 Stephens St, Yarraville, Friday 28 and Saturday 29 March. Tickets $40 to $35
Thawed Thawed is the new one man comedy theatre show by Xavier Michelides. It’s about a man thawed from his cryogenic slumber. His body hasn’t coped with the defrosting, his mind hasn’t adjusted to the time frame and his personality isn’t suited to the current social norms. He decides to spend his first night attending a dinner party. And in the show, you are sitting right next to him. “All good great art comes out of suffering,” Xavier tells Neos Kosmos of his comedy, “that’s the time when you need to have a sense of humour the most.” And he says this is what the Greeks do best – have a sense of humour; even if it is an obscure one. Trades Hall, Cnr Lygon and Victoria Sts, Carlton, Thursday 27 March to Sunday 20 April. Tickets $22 to $15
Heart Thy Neighbour Back for another four shows, Heart Thy Neighbour tells the story of a neighbourly barbecue that goes horribly wrong, giving a real glimpse at what goes on in the ‘burbs once the sausages are on the barbie and Chisel is playing on the stereo. The play stars Greek Australian actors Greg Pandelidis and Jim Koutsoukos, who play both male leads as typical Aussie blokes. “It’s a complex comedy with a dark side to it as well,” says Pandelidis of Heart Thy Neighbour. “There is a bit of tragedy to the characters as well.” Mechanics Institute, 270 Sydney Rd, Brunswick, Wednesday 9 to Saturday 12 April. Tickets $28 to $22
I’m wearing two suits because I mean business Steen Raskopoulos builds on the success of his award-winning solo sketch show – bruce springSTEEN LIVE IN CONCERT! – by creating a brand new one. I’m wearing two suits because I mean business promises to be a showcase of elaborate characters, physical comedy and unbiased awesomeness. You may recognise him from his work on SlideShow (Ch 7) or performing with the Axis of Awesome. ‘Two suits’ is an unforgettable comedy extravaganza written and performed by a man frequently called ‘Steve’. Steen Raskopoulos has been writing and performing in sketch comedy and improvised stage shows for the past seven years. He has performed in sell-out seasons at the Sydney and Melbourne comedy festivals since 2006 and performed to a sell out crowd at UCB’s Improv Comedy Festival ‘Del Close Marathon’ in New York in 2010. Steen fostered his sketch writing skills with comedy revue group The Delusionists. In 2013 Steen decided to go solo. In doing so he received a nomination for Best Newcomer at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival and won the same category at the Sydney Comedy festival for his debut solo sketch show bruce springSTEEN LIVE IN CONCERT!. Steen is also the youngest ever national theatresports champion. Portland Hotel, Cnr Russell and Lt Collins Sts, Melbourne, Thursday 27 March to Sunday 20 April. Tickets $22 to $15
Viva La Vida Loca Las Vegas This will be Axis of Awesome’s sixth MICF season, and they will be debuting their new show Viva La Vida Loca Las Vegas. Jordan Raskopoulos, who spearheads this comedic band as lead vocalist, along with Benny Davis on keyboard and Lee Naimo on guitar, present another classic example of musical comedy. Axis of Awesome recently picked up the Time Out Award for Best Australian Act at the Sydney Comedy Festival, and they are also recipients of the prestigious Moosehead Award for their first ever Melbourne International Comedy Festival show, The Axis of Awesome Comeback Spectacular. Their most recent show Songs in the Key of Awesome had its Australian premiere at The Sydney Opera House. Following a tour of the US, the boys are back in Australia to present their mixture of original comedy songs and pop parodies. The Famous Spiegeltent at Federation Square, Flinders St, Melbourne, Thursday 8 to Sunday 20 April. Tickets $28 to $22
Lay-lah Wazir: From Scrags to Riches!
Co-written by Greek Australian writer and actor Margarita Maragoudaki, and performed by Egyptian Australian comedienne Yvonne Malik, the two use an original blend of cultural comedy to satirise the values of modern Australian society on outer suburban housing estates.
Lay-lah Wazir, the most sought after Bo-gyptian belly dancer (in her own head), and Queen… of the Pyramid Schemes, returns to MICF to reveal the ‘secrets’ that made her rich! After graduating with a “BhP from Samira’s Palace Dance School in Thomastowns”, Lay-lah went on to become CEO of the Oooh Lay-lah Belly Dance Academeee. She now lives in a fully financed but fully sick McMansion at Lalor Fortress Heights and her net worth is estimated at about $200 bucks! Just like Lay-lah “youse too” could be living the high life on the housing estate “coz when it comes to mansions, Hummers and plasmas, more is more.”
Comedy on Collins, 156 Collins St, Melbourne, Wednesday 26 March – Sunday 12 April. Tickets $22 to $10
source: Neos Kosmos