A Melbourne based writer who is a travel junkie, dedicated foodie and emerging photographer.
Cameron Duggan, this one is for you
As regular attendees of the Melbourne International Comedy Festival know, the volume of events means that some shows are held in small venues that are not standardly used for performances. And so it was that we saw Best Split Bill Ever at Belleville, normally a cocktail bar. Actually, one end of the very long bar is walled off, with thin walls that do little to dampen the strong beat from the tunes being pushed out by the DJ.
My point is, it was a small room, with perhaps 30 seats, and by the time we arrived, the options were the reserved seats up the back, or the front row. Knowing we were about to see a performance by three stand up comedians, we steeled ourselves and headed for the front row.
First up on stage was Cameron Duggan. Sydney based Duggan, who was a RAW National runner up in 2013, strode onto the stage with a swagger and confidence that seemed more suited to a veteran. He was quick in engaging with the audience - and in particular, targeting my partner David. Luckily, Dave loves the attention. 'So Dave', says Duggan, 'have you ever written a duck joke?'. Dave thinks for a moment and says, 'why did the duck cross the road?'. Duggan - 'don't know, why did the duck cross the road?'. Unfortunately, Dave didn't know either, and it led to what to us, anyway, was a hilarious line of banter to which Duggan kept returning.
Cameron Duggan poses for a photo
Unfortunate latecomers were also asked why the duck crossed the road (they didn't know either).
Finally, prompted by me, Dave said 'because it was an egg-sistentialist duck' (which frankly made no sense, but it was the best we could do on the fly).
I didn't escape a bit of an interrogation either, though was treated with enormous respect once I revealed I was there to review the show.
Second up was Paige Hally. Hally is also well credentialed; she was hand-picked to be a part of Sydney Comedy Festival's Breakout Showcase of Sydney's best-emerging comedians two years in a row, and her first solo show was chosen for Sydney Comedy Festival's Fresh program of best new talent of 2016.
Paige Hally on stage
Duggan was always going to be a hard act to follow, and I'd have to say that the energy he'd generated in the room was not maintained when Hally took the stage. Some of her material was clever and original, but, to me anyway, the delivery was a bit flat. The psychiatrist series made me 'shrink' (pardon the pun).
NSW RAW State Finalist Alex Jae was the final act of the split bill. It was a strong performance by Jae. Most women could relate to her 'pregnant belly' sequence. And most people would be amused by the startling array of 'sexual objects' in Jae's life.
Alex Jae - strong act
In each of his segments throughout the show, Duggan described himself as 'crowd favourite Cameron Duggan'. In one final plea to me, he said: 'make sure you put that in your review; crowd favourite Cameron Duggan'. 'Self proclaimed', I said. And so, Cameron Duggan, self proclaimed crowd favourite, this one is for you! Cheers.
I have no idea if other audience members enjoyed the show as much as we did. We're still chuckling now, two days later. I encourage you to go and have a 'quacking' good time. Just be warned about that front row!
Best Split Bill Ever is playing at Belleville, Globe Alley (off Little Bourke Street, between Swanston and Russell Streets), Melbourne at 8.30pm each night (except Sunday) until Saturday 8th April.
Tickets are $15.30 full, $10.30 concession (all tickets $10.30 on Tightarse Tuesdays). Click here to buy tickets online, or call Ticketmaster on 1300 660 013.
The running time is 60 minutes, and the show suitable for audience members aged 16 plus.
The images in this article were taken by the writer. They are not to be reproduced in any form without the express permission of WeekendNotes.