Josh Earl - Oliver Up a Tree - Canberra Comedy Festival

I love going to comedy shows. My lifelong dream is to go to the Melbourne Comedy Festival for my 40th birthday.

As much as I love comedy, it is typically an adults only event, so when I heard that Josh Earl was bringing his kids’ comedy show, Oliver Up a Tree, to the Canberra Comedy Festival I booked straight away.

We took our seats at the Courtyard Theatre and Mr 9 asked me, “how many minutes to go?” “Fifteen,” I said. He asked the same question fourteen more times, so I was relieved the show started right on time.

Oliver Up a Tree is the tale of a boring town called Greyston and a boy called Oliver, who accidentally brings the town together when he climbs up a big tree, next to the public toilets.

As Josh told us about Oliver, he sang songs about Greyston and its residents (who were far more than they seemed), each with their amusing quirks. There was the librarian, who spent her days laminating signs in the book-less library. There was Oliver’s dad, a cleaner obsessed with toilets. And there was Nigel, the naughtiest boy in the town, who has a hilarious rant about a classic nursery rhyme.

In additions to these, Mr 7’s favourite character was the baker, who comes to the rescue with sandwiches and something bigger and sweeter. Mr 9 loved Mr Bill, the grumpy postman with a softer, squishier side and Miss 11 loved the pair of bumbling policeman, She also loved the message of the show, that everyone has a story to tell.

As the story unfolded there were some particularly fun moments of audience participation that took us right into the story: I don’t want to spoil the show, all I’ll say is the kids in the audience were up and out of their seats, running riot and giggling maniacally.

I know how hard entertaining kids can be. I have told stories to kids who fidget, pick their noses and interrupt to tell me they have Ninja Turtle socks. So seeing a roomful of kids so engaged for an hour is testament to Josh Earl’s comedy, his characters and the power of a good story.

We had a great time, we laughed a lot and the story was utterly charming.

Josh will be performing Oliver Up a Tree at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival this April. if you're in Melbourne, I'd recommend you get your tickets as soon as possible as the Canberra shows sold out!

What was the last live show you enjoyed with kids? Can you remember a great show you saw when you were a kid?