Thursday, 1 April 2004

The Ideas Men by Ridiculusmus, April 1, 2004 *****

The Ideas Men by Ridiculusmus

Melbourne Comedy Festival 
Fairfax Studio, Arts Centre,  1 to 18 April, 2004

Reviewer: Kate Herbert

Stars: *****

Ridiculusmus make me ache with astonishment each time I see them. Their lateral view on language, comedy and human nature is inspired.

David Woods ( and John Hough bring a welcome breath of imagination and theatricality to a Comedy Festival dominated by predictable stand up comedy.

The Ideas Men differs from the English duo's previous show, Say Nothing but it has the same compelling characterisation and leaps of logic.

Say Nothing dealt with the insanity of the Northern Ireland conflict.

The Ideas Men is a satire on overpaid corporate ninnies who construct seminars about nothing much - from even less.

Liam Brady (Hough) and Mike Mullet (Woods) are two idiotic ideas executives who are brainstorming plans for "a creativity role play seminar".

Not only do Liam and Mike have no ideas, they have no skills, no plan or strategy, no outcomes and even less hope.

Their day begins at nine with a rambling discussion about when and where to have lunch.

What follows is a desperate scrambling for creative outcomes - that one great idea that will break through all others.

What is fascinating is the total immersion of the pair in these mad characters. Mike (Woods) is an insecure, ineffectual man with scruffy hair, an irritating voice and bad breath.

Liam (Hough) is a reserved, critical and occasionally weepy little man. He plays with his Lego blocks as if his life depended on them and attacks Mike at random with personal slights.

Mike and Liam, in their desperate attempt to role play their way to a new idea, shift into other characters who may or may not exist in their corporate world.

They both role play Sue, their mythical secretary, who has a pronounced limp and tries to seduce both of them.

John McLouchlin is their oily boss who slides in irregularly looking for a product.

It is a fascinating and complex piece of absurd theatre.

 Hough and Woods confuse us by interrupting Liam and Mike's role play reality.  We are never certain whether the trouble Liam and Mike get into is real.

In Say Nothing, they performed standing on a suitcase for one hour. Here they ere either seated at two ends of a huge desk or galloping  around the entire Fairfax Studio.

The Ideas Men is unpredictable, crazy, intelligent, inventive and hilarious. Ridiculusmus is a jewel in the Comedy Festival.

LOOK FOR: Mike's brutal attack on his computer keyboard.

By Kate Herbert

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