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Published April 1, 2016

You know when a stand-up comedian begins her show with a spiel about dogs, you know it’s going to be a good show.

Mel Buttle’s stand-up show at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival is definitely something to look out for. In the vast and slightly labyrinthine Melbourne Town Hall, the setting is suitably intimate, whilst still being large enough to feel part of a show. Her jokes were well suited to an Australian audience (plenty of digs at New Zealand, Melbourne, and rural Queensland), and got plenty of laughs from the audience. Although some of the jokes weren’t always the most PC in the world, they were still fun and (mostly) in good taste – although probably not the best for children.

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One of the most innovative parts of this show was the (seemingly) impromptu spiel about a certain well known website. Although it was very different to the rest of the show, the audience interaction made it quite fun. Without giving anything away, this segment of the show definitely grabs the audience’s attention in a way not many other shows can. In many ways, it was the star attraction of the evening, just because it was so left of field. It’s very Australian, which kept the segment feeling very authentic.

The show, for the first three quarters, was very well paced. At no time did the audience feel that a joke dragged on unnecessarily. Indeed, it felt almost like a coherent stream of consciousness – an approach which has its have pitfalls but worked very well with Buttle’s style of talking. Even when she took breaks to drink water, she managed to keep the pace and flow of the show – which is quite a feat considering she wasn’t saying anything.

Speaking of presentation, even before she said so you could tell Buttle came from Queensland. A combination of the accent and the turns of phrase really gave it away. Not that this was a bad thing – quite the contrary, it gave the show a slight edge, something which can be missed with more urban-based performers. Buttle also makes good use of the stage, neither standing still (which has happened to less confident comedians), but also not gesticulating wildly.

The show doesn’t exactly end on a high note. The final story was a bit aimless and didn’t have a discernible punchline, and the impressions, whilst an interesting touch, seemed a bit out of place. Perhaps incorporating them into the show at an earlier stage, and ending on the aforementioned website skit (or potentially something just as ridiculous) would work better, rather than the slightly anti-climactic ending.

Overall, however, Buttle has very enjoyable show, and is definitely someone worth checking out if you’re after a fun show full of laughs.

Up To Pussy’s Bow is on at the Melbourne Town Hall at 8:30pm until the 17th of April. Tickets are available at the MICF box office and online. 

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