Brits on top down under

Gala launches Melbourne festival

The Melbourne comedy festival has kicked off, with British comic dominating the opening gala.

Although most of the 180-plus shows on offer at the event are from Australian acts, Brits overwhelmed the high-profile launch.

The sold-out event at the city's Regent Theatre was hosted by local comic Dave Hughes.

Singing trio Tripod and stand-ups Wil Anderson and Sarah Kendall, a familiar face on the British circuit made up the Australian quota, alongside Irish comic Jimeoin, who now lives down under.

Reluctant Perrier-winner Daniel Kitson, pictured, proved a hit, with the Sydney Morning Herald praising his "comic heroism".

The same paper called Dan Antopolski 'a highlight', and was won over by Noel Fielding's 'surreal rodeo of absurdity'.

Francesca Martinez, Lee Mack and Danny Bhoy also represented the UK, alongside Men In Coats, who were hailed "awe-inspiring"

Director Susan Provan said about 1,000 artists are taking part in the 17th annual event, adding "It has become Australia's largest annual cultural festival.

" We sell more tickets than anyone else and we are justly very proud of that."

The festival runs until April 20.

Published: 27 Mar 2003

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