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Published October 26th 2011
The Quarterly Retort is a mini-comedy festival held every three months at The Order Of Melbourne on Swanston St. The Retort comprises of different styles of comedy and it's a great opportunity to see comedy fringe shows or comedy festival shows that you didn't have the chance to see as, if you're like me, the festivals come and go before you know it.
It's a great idea due to the fact that Melbourne is such a hub for comedy where they're able to book top acts such as Barry Award Nominee Bob Franklin who headlined the October 2011 Retort. Many would've missed his highly acclaimed fringe show but now had the opportunity to experience the high quality one-man performance. I was one of those people.
I thoroughly enjoyed the mini festival vibe where the venue compliments the night with the two rooms available along with the rooftop bar to sit and have a break between acts and discuss the hilarity of the comedy. This is an important aspect of running a successful night. It meant you could clear out of the seating area and have a beer or wine upstairs before getting ready to return to the laughter. It's a fantastic way of keeping up the high energy as I feel audiences get zonked when having to wait 15-20 minutes in their seats. This and, of course, a full bar with a good snack menu, is essential. The night had a sense of professionalism, as there were people filming and taking photos on the side where I even saw some famous faces in the crowd who were keen on lookers as well. With a good setting and venue it makes for an uninhibited and entertaining evening where as soon as you sit down, that buzz before a show ensures that you're ready to enjoy yourself.
The October 2011 Quarterly Retort featured comedian Laurence Mooney's show An Indecisive Bag of Doughnuts, Bob Franklin's show An Audience with Sir Robert (which was hilarious) and Fiona Scott-Norman's show Disco: The Vinyl Solution as well as Ben Lomas, Xavier Toby and Phil Andrews performing in the separate room.
All the shows were very different in standard and style where it was great to see a mixture of the types of comedy that are out there. Laurence Mooney had the hard task of starting the night and bringing the energy to the night where his show was very good where his impressions of "bogans" were spot on receiving huge laughs from the crowd. Bob Franklin was the star however with his entertaining rambles from his pipe-smoking character, Sir Robert, which were clever and amazingly comical. Truly a fantastic show where it was obvious why he was nominated for the Barry Award. Finally, Fiona Scott-Norman had the even harder task of following a knockout act and was a stark contrast to the previous show. Sadly, it wasn't as funny or successful with constant technical issues and problems that always stresses out the performer and audience watching. In its own way, it was interesting to compare the vastly different performances and meant you walked away with an assorted mix of comedy.
The Quarterly Retort is a fantastic night all round where the mix bag of comedy is great for those looking to see shows you might've missed during the many festivals in Melbourne. I'll definitely be heading to the next Quarterly Retort in three months time!