Craig Annis: Nanna’s Boy (Bedlam Bar)

rsz_craigannis1Venue: Bedlam Bar (Glebe NSW), Sep 25 – 27, 2013

Theatre review
Due to the recent loss of Craig Annis’ grandmother, he wisely chose to steer his show Nanna’s Boy away from its original concept, and move it towards a more general style of stand up comedy. The short sequence where he does talk about his grandmother, is beautiful and strong, but it is evident that the performer is not ready to delve too heavily into that emotional space. The rest of the material though, varies in effectiveness, and does not always deliver the best results. It is fortunate then that Annis is an excellent performer, and his natural talents easily makeup for a few shortfalls in the writing.

Annis’ greatest strengths are his charm and energy. He is easily buoyed when the audience responses well, and never falters when a punchline misses the mark. The enthusiasm for his work is highly infectious, and that is half the battle won. Most memorable moments include a hilarious impersonation of comedy celebrity Dave Hughes (with a French twist) and a very amusing interchange with a puppet that involves inter-species affection. Nanna’s Boy may not have a perfect selection of jokes, but his grandmother would be very proud indeed of Annis’ skills at telling them.

Gina Yashere: Jokes & Stuff (Sydney Comedy Festival 2013)

Gina Yashere Laughing To America DVD PromoVenue: The Factory Theatre (Marrickville NSW), May 3 – 5, 2013

Show review
The thing about stand up comedy shows is that they’re either terrific or they’re terrible. There is no middle-ground, the audience never leaves thinking, “that was fine”. These are tough gigs, where the performers are not allowed mediocrity, for the only way to achieve a “passing grade” is to bring the house down.

Gina Yashere’s performance at this year’s Sydney Comedy Festival was convincingly masterful. Though her material is sometimes silly and usually apolitical, her delivery is consistently timed to bombastic perfection. Every consonant is mapped out for attack at every precise moment, and every pause is placed just so. Everything is informed by instinct and talent.

At this year’s festival, Yashere was not only given the biggest space at the Factory, but also the attendance of a truly adoring following. She was the commander of a ship full of passengers keen to venture on an hour-long journey, all poised and ready for wherever she may want to go. The lethal combination of a confident comedian at the top of her game and a totally up-for-it crowd, gave birth to an uproarious and thrillingly hilarious night. See you next year, Gina!