Wednesday, 26 March 2003

Picking Up Daisies & Plucking Out Pubic Hairs, March 26, 2003

Picking Up Daisies and Plucking Out Pubic Hairs  
By Ian Selvarajoo  
Melbourne Comedy Festival
La Mama, March 26 to April 13, 2003
Reviewer: Kate Herbert

Picking Up Daisies and Plucking Out Pubic Hairs is a rough, rowdy play about two men and a dead body. Correction - apparently dead body.

It is a black comedy about brothers, Burt   (Damien Richardson)  and Draven  (Michael Burkett)  trying to dispose of the body of a schoolgirl (Geire Kami)  Burt hit with his car outside his front door. Writer, Ian Selvarajoo, creates enormous problems for this pair of rough-head buffoons. How doe Burt clean the blood stained floor?

What does Draven cope with the hidden body falling out of the closet? Do they call an ambulance when she moans and twitches? But their major problem is with Ishikawa,  (Adam Cass)  a childhood friend with a nasty disposition. He was to provide them with a body bag but they reneged on the deal and Ishi is not happy. In fact, Ishi is violent and psychopathic.

Richardson and Burkett make a delightful double act of boofhead clowns. There is menace in big Burt's treatment of his little brother and yet they always seem loving.

Richardson plays the thuggish Burt with relish. His comic timing is impeccable. Burkett plays Draven as a frustratingly fey and intermittently poetic dill. As Ishikawa, Cass finds a mad Mafioso style that works in part.

Director, Peta Hanrahan, maintains a cracking pace and elevates the sense of urgency and danger on the stage. The energy is almost hysterical at the opening as Burt tries to clean his already filthy flat.

This is the first of the La Mama Comedy Festival season. It is not all laughs because Selvarajoo intercuts the comedy with some rather scary and all too real violence. The narrative moves quickly like a Fawlty Towers plot in which the incompetent protagonists make bizarre and maddening choices.

The play falters sometimes. Selvarajoo's dialogue is sometimes out of character for Draven. The scene breaks are awkward and the violence becomes difficult to watch toward the end. We hope the knife is blunted.

Picking Up Daisies and Plucking Out Pubic Hairs is just what the title indicates: rude, rough, funny and naughty.

By Kate Herbert

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