Sunday, July 01, 2007

Belated Porthole Review

I recommended this production to someone and he went along with half a dozen friends, none of whom liked it. Woopsie. I didn't guffaw quite as much as those around me, but then I'm not a guffawing kind of guy. I did smirk a lot though. It was really very silly.

I'm getting closer to getting serious about separating theatre reviews and my mindless twitterings into two blogs. I just have to come up with a suitable blog name. And then get around to actually doing it.

Anyway, here's this almost as it appeared in Drum Media recently. Bit late if you live in Sydney, but keep an eye out for it if you live elsewhere. I think it's worth checking out. I enjoyed it a lot.


Initially I thought this was going to wear thin pretty quickly. It’s absurd musical sketch comedy set in the twilight zone of the mind unshackled to reality. It’s a variety show of weirdness coming to you live from Studio Insomnia. Nothing makes sense. It’s surreal. It’s surprising. And my concerns that it might wear thin unraveled into a purple belly button banister.

In short, this is very silly, very funny stuff. Tamlyn Henderson and Warwick Allsopp morph into a bizarre gaggle of characters existing in that dream place where chaos reigns supreme. Almost asleep but not quite, we see people and things we recognise from the waking world, but nothing predictable happens. It’s a bit like climbing into a Dali painting with the Monty Python team singing a lullaby about iguanas and umbrellas. Totally loopy.

Henderson and Allsop seem like such a perfect creative team that you marvel at the odds of them coming together at all. Both clearly possess a delicious sense of off-kilter humour; both appear to be excellent actors; and they belt out a bloody lovely tune to the musical accompaniment of keyboardist Jeremy Brennan. Apparently the material was written mostly via text messaging while Henderson and Allsopp were away touring on separate ventures. They obviously spent a lot of time trying to amuse and out-weird each other, and we reap the rewards.

So what actually happens on stage? Erm... there’s a kind of radio show with commercials and sleep-deprived late night callers; fractured horoscopes; a self-knowledge quiz (I think that was my favourite segment); a creepy, wise old Chinese guy (hang on – he was the funniest bit); a thoroughly warped promotion for self-improvement (shit – this was the funniest part); there’s a guy trapped inside a phone; a bit about releasing your inner Audrey Hepburn ... it’s all disjointed and funny, but with something potentially disturbing not too far away.

They’ve been hits at local comedy festivals and are now heading to the Edinburgh Festival. I’d wish them good luck, only I really don’t think they need luck. A Porthole Into The Minds Of The Vanquished is just a very good show. See it. You’ll laugh your penguins off.

At The Studio, Sydney Opera House until 30 June.



Chris said...

NONE of them liked it? I'd be getting new friends! ;)


P.S. Don't split your blog! Shocking and literary is good!!

Quick said...

Yeah, really quite odd. He said something about how you shouldn't have to resort to being puerile to get a laugh, and when I said the whole thing was based around sleep and the unpredictability of our dreams he looked a little surpised. Like maybe they had missed the point.

Don't split the blog, you think. Hmm.