#MICF Review Sat 31 March: Rod Quantock, Big Laugh Out, Denise Scott, Greg Behrendt, Fear Of A Brown Planet Sits Down

What a day! I’d hoped to squeeze a couple more shows in during the evening, but I needed to lie down and let my hip and knee recover from my exertions. Hope to do better today.

Rod Quantock’s 3rd Annual Mystery Comedy Walking Tour
☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
The comedy festival advertises chaotic and unplanned, and that is exactly what you get! Kudos to MICF minder Daniel who ensured that neither Rod nor anybody else in the group was run over, punched in the face or arrested. It’s amazing how polite and good humoured hapless shop staff can be when Rod decides to “help” one of their customers find a pair of shoes, or get all of us to sing happy birthday to the chap at the outside table. The various tourists who had no idea who Rod was but who gamely played along for the crowd of 60 hangers-on wearing novelty Groucho glasses were a joy, and the middle-aged son who let Rod abandon his (delighted!) mother in her wheelchair in the middle of the street needs to be very, very ashamed. Also hello to my new friends Jackie and Libby (we went for cider and ogling French street theatre artists afterwards).

The (Very) Big Laugh Out
☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
I’m rapidly becoming addicted to the free entertainment in Fed Square, and am so glad that MICF puts this on every year. Check the schedule for your favourite artists: Saturday afternoon we saw The Lift Operators, Wellington Ukulele Orchestra, Five Foot Fingers, Anna Pocket Rocket and Funny Bones. Kids down the front were dancing, squealing, grossing out, being suddenly scared in the best possible way and all up having the time of their lives. The rest of us just enjoyed the roller coaster ride of superb physical and musical comedy.

Denise Scott – Regrets
☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
This show was absolutely what I expected and hoped to see – Scotty telling stories in her delightful way and playing the audience like a maestro. You get exactly what you see on TV except bigger, longer and stronger (oo-er), and the audience ate it up. There are no big surprises, but lots of little ones. She’s only doing Saturdays during the festival, so buy tix quick before they sell out.

Greg Behrendt – Clown from The Neck Down (USA)
☆ ☆ ☆
I admit, I laughed a lot here. Behrendt tells a damn good story, has a strong line in curmudgeoning and self-deprecation (especially living down his status as accidental “relationship expert” after he wrote a funny book about relationships), and is a very warm and likeable performer. So why only three stars? I have to confess it’s a bit of a comedy snob thing, which is just that the show feels over-rehearsed, right down to the “ad-libs”, although he fakes spontaneity very very well. What got to me is the feeling that he’s probably even better when he’s less tightly scripted, and that’s what I’d like to see. However, if you loved his book and you want a safe pair of comedy hands to entertain you, you will love this show.

Dom Romeo – Stand Up Sit Down with guests Fear of a Brown Planet
As noted previously I contributed to funding this show so I won’t give it a star rated review. But you should totally stay late and come to see your favourite funny people tell stories you’ll never hear on any other stage about the hows and whys of comic performance and what they get up to when they’re not performing. Nazeem Hussain and Aamer Rahman shared some doozies! Tonight’s guest is DeAnne Smith.

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