By Victor Kline Arts Hub

Monday, October 13, 2008

Julia Morris hosted the evening.

So I'm standing in the bar before the show and the guy next to me says: 'This mob couldn't make a kookaburra laugh'.

And I'm thinking 'Oh, oh, this could be the night of the long fixed grin. Is it too late to sneak home and crib my review from the press release?'

But I grasped the nettle of my duty and went in. The sombre, almost threatening, audience entrance music was comedic only in a dark Clouseauesque way. Now I was really worried.

But I should not have been. For we kookaburras laughed our silly heads off all night. A house full of delighted kookas, both industry and general public, watched a show that ran way over time, but were still yelling for more.

Star 100 Entertainment talent agency had assembled the very best of their stars, for a night of relentless attack on our rib cages, hosted by the very talented and very pregnant 'Dame' Julia Morris, who ran a nice balance between her own irreverent routine and smoothing the way for the other talent.

I was especially impressed by the variety of styles presented. No two comedians were alike, and the order in which they performed, gave us a great mix, like the composition of the very best albums.

Sally Kimpton started the evening with a barrage of broad Aussie one liners delivered with a unique mix of cheek and humility that was charming and captivating.

She was followed by the sophisticated barrister/comedian Paresh Khandhar, whose powerful stage presence made me think he would do well in serious theatre too. His jokes ranged across a wide area but I particularly liked the lightness and charm he brought to some hilarious Indian stereotypes.

Dave Jory began by confessing that it was his first wedding anniversary but he had taken the gig instead. I was glad to see he slipped away immediately after his performance. In the meantime he gave us some wonderful loose linked but beautifully flowing material, delivered with spice.

Brett Nichols raucous lovely ocker humour then kept us going till Jackie Loeb attacked the stage with a combination of slickness, mimicry, musical virtuosity and a wildly physical segment that I won't spoil for you in advance (see it and die, if not happy, then at least knowing you have seen everything).

By interval we were exhausted but hungry for more. Amelia Jane Hunter started the second half with a courageous tirade of bold socio/political commentary, and was immediately counterpoised by the laid back Seinfeld like 'real life' comedy of Chris Radburn, and the grungy, original, fast paced and surprisingly charming words and music of Steve Philp.

The night ended with an amazing mix of comedy and great voices from Axis of Awesome, who destroyed the sanity of the audience when they definitively proved that all successful rock songs have only the same four chords.

Such a pity this only ran for one night. Let's hope Star 100 get them all back together again soon. In the meantime if you can get to see any of these amazing comedians in any other gigs, don't hesitate to do so.

Sydney Comedy Store, Entertainment Quarter, Moore Park, Saturday 11 October 2008.