It was a seemingly regular Thursday evening. With a belly full of pre-show pizza and a heart filled with anticipation, I made my way to His Majesty’s Theatre for what I hoped would be a night of that snorting, knee-slapping type of laughter. And oh boy, was I right about that! The Melbourne International Comedy Festival Roadshow is a celebration of hand-picked and diverse stand-up comedians, each with their own niche and signatory comedic style.
The wonderfully vibrant, world-class Cal Wilson served as MC for the evenings proceedings; however I’m not convinced that title was particularly fitting as she might as well have been a headliner herself. Wilson’s appearances in between each comedian gave a false sense of hope – that our various laughing muscles might get a well-deserved break. Instead, we found ourselves laughing just as hard.
The first headliner of the evening was Perth-born Xavier Michilides. His background in drama performance was evident, with his extremely malleable vocal talents and perfected miming scenes. Michilides’ style of comedy was physical and dramatic; a trait that made him stand out amongst the other headliners. His act not only sparked an appreciation of his humour and wit, but also an admiration of his physical and vocal talents.
Nath Valvo was the second headliner to grace the stage, and was the favourite of the night. His brutally honest and sarcastic sentiments about mothers, fathers, his homosexuality, and the various ‘foodie’ diets out now were utterly hilarious. Valvo served up humorous and exaggerated, high energy re-enactments of relatable situations for all audience members, almost as if he were reading our minds.
The next headliner was described as slow-moving but fast-thinking, and this statement entirely epitomises Hannah Gadsby’s comedy. She was a notable contrast to Valvo’s high energy set. Her nonchalant delivery of incredibly clever and sharp-witted material made the impact of her jokes all the stronger. Her sarcastic, under-the-breath comments scored her the most laughs from the audience.
As Nelly Furtado so eloquently says, “all good things come to an end”. Luckily, this ‘good thing’ ended with a giant finale by New York comedian Will Sylvince. Disclaimer: his comedy is not for the prudish or faint-hearted. Sylvince takes an extremely crass approach to comedy, with almost his entire act focused around sex, masturbation and private body parts. Even if you think you’re not into this type of humour, I assure you you’ll giggle helplessly when there’s a man on stage by himself – shamelessly and wholeheartedly – re-enacting a bad ‘doggy style’ experience.
There was truly something for everyone at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival Roadshow. The comedians are all so drastically different and wholly committed to their signature style – and that is a wonder to see, so grab a group of friends and head to the show. With a fully licensed bar and a chance to personally interact with the comedians after the show, you are guaranteed a night filled with nothing but good feelings and laughter.
Words by Aleasha Sanchez-Lawson
‘The Melbourne International Comedy Festival Roadshow’ runs at His Majesty’s Theatre until 18 June. Tickets available here.
You can read our interview with Wil Sylvince here.