Alanta Colley’s show Days of Our Hives is playing at Belleville in Globe Alley. Colley’s show is a great one for anyone interested in urban beekeeping and other types of urban agriculture self-sufficiency, but also for anyone who likes to learn new things, with a healthy dose of humour thrown in. If you expect a laugh per second, or like low brow humour, it might not be for you. But if you like scientific accuracy with your laughs, head to Days of Our Hives. Colley calls it “evidence-based comedy”. I realised at one stage that I hadn’t laughed for a few minutes, but I was still totally engaged with the content. Part of that was undoubtedly Colley’s genuine passion for her subject matter (just like the best teachers). It was a little like watching a really funny documentary. I’m happy to continue to be a lifelong learner even at the Comedy Festival.

Colley has a great manner during her performance. It is very relaxed and comfortable, which makes the routine seem spontaneous rather than overly rehearsed (perhaps a fraction too ‘comfortable’ when she had an extended exchange with a friend who snuck in late). But added to the tiny venue, it did make for an intimate performance.

Colley’s show includes the use of a slideshow of visual imagery which was quite effective in adding explanations of some of the more technical terms, and a few visual punch lines. Her humour is quite self-deprecating, narrating some of the pitfalls of urban beekeeping, and also focuses on the community around her home in Northcote, including grumpy anti-bee neighbours and a street worth of gossiping Nonna’s. 99% of the show refers to bee related anecdotes, except for 2 lengthy tangents – one of which that she miraculously manages to connect back to bees with a large stretch at the end (you will be amazed at how she can link a story of home invasion and burglary to Cleopatra’s rather innovative use of bees) while the only relevance I caught in the other was the fact that it centred around another flying creature. Regardless of topic, most of the show was extremely funny. As the title suggests pun related humour, Colley felt obliged to include bee-related puns, despite her own aversion to them. So, she completed a rather impressive ‘pun run’ (the person sitting next to me counted 27). So, depending on your opinion of puns, plenty of laughs or groans were supplied in those few sentences. Personally, I am averse to puns, but did catch myself unwillingly laughing at quite a few of them! The sheer volume was impressive.

Overall, it was a thoroughly enjoyable and interesting show. So, if you feel like some intelligent humour, and long to hear stories about “angry, revolutionary bees”, head to Belleville. Colley is performing every night, except for the 18th until closing night on the 22nd.