Your free what's on guide to the top end

Comics' Corner – Fringe Festival Forecast – A Jovial July

July sees Darwin electrified by some dynamic comic talent. If Adelaide has Mad March, Darwin now has Jovial and Juvenile July. Maybe it doesn’t quite roll off the tongue but people, some serious comedy is in the house.

By Will Crawford.

My salivary glands are working overtime in readiness for the svelte, silken-tonsilled and brilliant observational comic Ben Stevenson in his solo show, imaginatively titled Ben? Ben Stevenson?.

Also first into my comedy shopping trolley is the much anticipated brutal roast fest The Four Horseman of Comedy, featuring Stevenson and Darwin’s homegrown Yeti David Woodhead taking on two comedy fugitives from Perth, Sean Conway and Daniel Delby in a night of head-to-hand comic combat. Also take the time to catch David Woodhead’s show Thank Me Later. If last year’s Laugh It Off performance is any guide, don’t sit in the front row. It could get hairy. 

In terms of innovative comedy game shows, forget 8 out of 10 Cats as Darwin’s premier wordsmith and whimsical comic Angie Wu presents two hot new shows World War Wu and The Darwinning Gameshow. Think Scrabble meets Family Feud but with more attractive contestants. I Can’t Do Eyes is rumoured to be a game of Pictionary between four artistically and cognitively impaired comics and should be hilarious. 

You might know Nicole Stevens for her comic sleight of hand and Darwin’s sharpest one-liners, but add whimsical song writing to this unlikely melange and you have Nicole’s musical comedy Rage Against the Washing Machine. Not to be missed. 

Of the internationals, Gillian English in Drag Queen Stole My Dress looks to be the pick of the Canadians. English's impressive stand up is naughty, clever and weaves anarchic storytelling and cheeky one-liners with ease. The other Canadian, Tor Snyder in Dating Naked delivers fast paced and quirky looks at the foibles of dating.  

Of the Perth comics, Daniel Delby has some nightclub inspired dance to look out for, Sean Conway is a very funny, very clever and very angry man, while Cameron McLaren’s names rhyme.

The dark horse of the Festival will certainly be former Darwin theatre guru Kyle Walmsley’s How To Make a One Person Fringe Show in 3 months.  Walmsley, a former Raw Comedy National Finalist, is a slick performer who usually brings a strange perspective to the world and an ocean of joy and warmth. 

For fans of the surrealist, the bizarre and the unconventional, get along to the show with the best title of the festival, the Harold Holt Pool Party. Anything is possible when spoken word and bush ballads meet electro-punk.

For improvisational comedy fans, the Improv Comedy Jam looks like it could be a blast with impro-veterans Tor Snyder and Julian Canny guiding you through an hour of absurdist joy. There will also be an improvisation workshop during the day at Mayfair.

My big tip though is the smiling assassin Ryan Coffey, one of Australia’s most inventive and dark comic talents who mixes comic songs with some very polished and disturbing one liners.

Darwin, take a breath because you’ll head into oxygen debt after some of these shows. 

More info on Darwin Fringe Festival.

Will Crawford is an up-and-crawling comic. He moonlights as a land rights lawyer and policy activist. 

His monthly column showcases Top End comic writing and local stand-up performers who are often grilled to reveal their influences, favourites and foibles.



Share this