Musical comedian Sammy J dropped out of a law course at Melbourne university to pursue a career in comedy; and in 2006 won the best newcomer award at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival.
In 2008, he first joined forces with puppeteer Heath McIvor on the musical Sammy J and the Forest of Dreams", which was nominated for the Barry award in Melbourne before going on to runs in London and at the Edinburgh Fringe. They have collaborated on two more shows since then, winning the Barry for their first follow-up, Ricketts Lane, in 2010.
Sammy J Videos
Sammy J And Randy In Ricketts Lane
Three years ago, musical comedian Sammy J and ridiculously talented puppeteer Heath McIvor were the toast of the festival with their hilarious toe-tapping antidote to Disney, Sammy J In The Forest Of Dreams, which they promptly followed up… by going their separate ways.
Thankfully that break-up was temporary, and they’re back with another brilliantly executed musical extravaganza that’s raucous, witty fun from start to finish.
Rather than the full foam menagerie that populated the frighteningly ambitious Forest of Dreams, McIvor here sticks to his most enduring creation: Randy, the foul-mouthed, hard-living low-life. By giving a cute muppet such an insalubrious personality, comparisons with Avenue Q will be inevitable – but two Aussies in a hotel basement can more than hold their own against the big-budget Broadway show.
For what Ricketts Lane lacks in production values, it more than makes up for in ingenuity, not to mention a whip-sharp script and the always impressive songwriting talents of young Sammy J.
Here he plays a struggling low-level tax lawyer sharing a flat with Randy, his best friend. The opening scenes have them trading sparky banter that any sitcom would be proud of, while killing time with a convoluted hybrid board game of their own splendid invention.
In a fast-paced plot, Sammy uncovers evidence linking his roomie to large-scale tax evasion. Since the Mr Big of the scam has fled to Papua New Guinea (which you will never pronounce the same way again, thanks to an infectious running joke), the earnest investigator has to prosecute his best friend.
The action, and the gags, never let up for a minute. There’s an exuberant spirit pervading every moment, while the ultra-lean writing wrings laughs from the most unlikely of places – including one of the best, most unexpected, visual gags you’ll ever see at the start of the courtroom scene.
Even the songs earn their place, never acting as mere make-weight interludes, but carefully designed to keep up the joke-rate. Meanwhile McIvor injects more emotion into his inanimate creation than you’ll get in an entire year of Neighbours, building up no small measure of empathy for the loveable rogue.
Without an ounce of fat in the writing – rather like the rake-thin Sammy J himself – this delightful, hilarious romp is surely one of the highlights of the festival..
Sammy J Dates
Sorry. We have no listings of forthcoming performances by this comedian.
We do not currently hold contact details for Sammy J's agent. If you are a comic or agent wanting your details to appear on Chortle, click here.