The 10th Musical Comedy Awards took place on Saturday night (7th April 2018), as part of the Underbelly Festival on London's Southbank. The sellout audience were in very high spirits, with proceedings overseen by the lovable and joyous Miss Frisky (of Frisky & Mannish fame; the duo were finalists in 2009).
The host whipped up a frenzy for the first act, Stiff & Kitsch (real names, Sally O'Leary and Rhiannon Neads). The quirky female duo (with added keyboardist, James Taylor) gave us perfectly executed self-deprecating, modern musical comedy that left the audience in stitches. They ended with their infamous Facebook song. The judges clearly loved their performance as well, as at the end of the evening they took home the main prize.
Matt Hutson put his heart and soul into an emotional but hilarious love song to his ex, Karen. He looked at home on the Underbelly stage; as did the next act, Stephen 'Friz' Frizzle, who describes himself as a 'song ruiner'. He takes classic songs from your childhood and, well, ruins them... generally by adding topical references relating to death and Operation Yewtree: The Jam's A Town Called Malice will never be the same again.
Modern life expert Ava Rage (real name, Lorna Shaw) and Bennet Kavanagh both gave assured sets, the former impressing us all with her extensive knowledge of TED Talks. Archie Henderson changed the mood entirely when he slowly walked on stage dressed fully in black, leading to a particularly brilliant song told from the point of view of Severus Snape from the Harry Potter books.
The hilariously dark Cassie Atkinson performed an incredibly funny, packed set in the guise of primary school teacher-type. Blending the sweet and simple xylophone and her upbeat singing voice with truly dark subject matter gave her complete control over the audience's expectations. A true writing talent who I hope we'll see more of.
Luke Courtier, a previous finalist of the competition, came back with strong new material delivered in a confident deadpan style. Next up, Dave Bibby stormed onto the stage, captivating the audience with his upbeat musical offerings, much of it themed around bird species. His charisma and silliness only added to the mayhem - a true performer, who was named the Audience Favourite by sponsors WeGotTickets.
Joe Jacobs followed up with a fresh style of musical comedy, energetically rapping out lyrics like there's no tomorrow, proving himself clearly to be a solid writer.
The evening ended with a performance from the Newcomer Award winner, Charlotte Brooke, whose Easter Bunny song might have to go down as a classic of musical comedy. Also performing was last year's MCA overall winner, Will Hislop, who delivered a confident performance as a famous Norwegian artist. Unfortunately, he discovered halfway into his set that there were at least 10 real Norwegians in the audience, which he handled with cheeky aplomb.
Overall, a fantastic night out with some real unique comedy talents shining through.