Festive fun at Perth comedy gala

Paul Foot at the 2015 Perth Comedy Festival Gala at the Regal Theatre, April 29. Picture: Tobias Venus

A gala is best and worst of times; you love the variety, but miss the journey a fine comedian takes you on.

COMEDY

Perth Comedy Festival Gala

3 stars

Regal Theatre

The Perth Comedy Festival has defied demographic gravity this year and moved west. It’s now spread everywhere from UWA campus to the Mt Lawley Bowling Club.

With that shift has come a change to the intensity and personality the festival had established in Mt Lawley, even though it still possible to show-hop from room to room in Subiaco and at the bowling club, taking in two, maybe three, comedians a night.

This year’s Gala may have had no local performers, but there was a strong representation of comics originally from here, including its MC Joel Creasey, Tien Tran, and the recently naturalised Mike Goldstein, who’s spent more than enough time in Perth to qualify.

The great benefit of a Gala is that you generally get the best of each act’s full show. You get even more from the MC, and Creasey delivered most of the gems from his current show, The Hurricane. He’s just terrific in bite-size pieces, even if his full routine is still to reach its potential. Catch him next time.

You can still see all of the other acts on the bill, if you hurry, and many of them will reward the effort.

It’s interesting to see how rapidly fashions can change in comedy. There seems, happily, to be less fixation with sex than a couple of years ago, and far more on various forms of bigotry; admittedly, with four gay men, an Asian Australian and African American comedians on the bill, that might be expected.

After Creasey’s opening spray, the show eased into gear with Cam Knight’s story of the joys of providing the male ingredient for IVF and Tran’s bent fantasies about hot racists. Gen Fricker (disappointingly the only female performer on the bill) played and sang a couple of her stuttering, sharply-barbed songs before Goldstein gave us seven typically engaging minutes of digs at his old (the USA) and new homelands.

The first set finished with utter genius from Paul Foot, one of the funniest people on the planet, and a professional, albeit mannered stand from the popular Stephen K Amos.

After drinks, Craig Hill blasted through his glorious song and dance routine, Nick Cody entertained us like the troops, Rhys Nicholson impressed as always with arch tales of Ipswich and politically correct muggers, the substantial Canadian Angelo Tsarouchas delivered an unsurprising routine and the louche American Tony Woods made some tough points through an alcoholic haze.

As always, a Gala is the best and worst of times; you love the variety, but miss the journey a fine comedian takes you on.

For that reason, I’d make it my business to see Fricker, Nicholson, Hill and Woods in full while they’re here. And crawl over broken glass if you must to catch the amazing Mr Foot.