Kate Herbert is theatre reviewer, Herald Sun, Melbourne & formerly for Melbourne Times. Kate is a director; produced playwright (21 plays). Scripts pub. Currency Press. She worked as actor, comedian, improviser & teacher of Acting, Improvisation & Playwriting. Kate was Head of Drama/Teacher, NMIT; Coordinator of Prof. Writing/ Editing, Swinburne Uni. Read her reviews here or: www.heraldsun.com.au/entertainment/arts. NB Explorer Browser doesn't always work on blog.
Thursday, 6 April 2006
Dizney on Dry Ice, April 6, 2006
Dizney on Dry Ice by Nathan Curnow produced by La Mama
Carlton Courthouse, April 7 to 22, 2006
Reviewer: Kate Herbert
Dizney on Dry Ice, by Nathan Curnow, directed by Greg Carroll, is the first cab off the rank for the Comedy Festival and it is laugh-out-loud funny.
We can forgive the production for coming a little unstuck in a few later scenes because we laugh so much for the first hour.
Do not be put off by the premise, which is very silly; Marvin (Shannon Henriksson), a complete nong of a gangster, hatches an idiotic plot to steal the frozen head of Walt Disney from its top secret cryogenics facility at Disneyland.
His equally dim-witted, gangster-moll girlfriend, Wilma (Terri Brabon), wants to play Minnie Mouse, to whom she bears a striking resemblance, at Disneyland.
When his gangster boss, Wilma’s brother, Tony (Kevin Hopkins), gets out of gaol, Marvin is compelled, by the rest of the gang (Mike Bishop, Sean Barker) to participate in a bank robbery to make recompense for his errors in an earlier kidnapping. Unfortunately for the gang, the bank is run by “The Most Unrobbable Bank Manager of the Year” (Tony Rive).
Meanwhile, a couple of police assassins (Ross Williams, Justin Foster) go undercover as Amish farmers at Disneyland and a couple (Helen Hopkins, Brian Davison) plot to overthrow Disneyland from the inside.
The comic acting and direction are impeccable. Carroll focuses on the characters, keeping the stage empty but for a few chairs and indicating locations by simple projections on a scrim behind which actors also form tableaux of off-stage action.
Curnow’s dialogue is quick-witted, absurd, littered with gags but driven by the characters. It derives much of its humour from their sheer idiocy and references to US gangster movies.
Henriksson’s Marvin is a gem of a character with lumbering simplicity, high hopes and no brains. Brabon has impeccable comic timing and delivery playing Wilma with a shrill voice, open face and Minnie Mouse attitude.
Bishop, Hopkins and Barker make broad comedy out of the crims. Their scene miming pop songs in the car is screamingly funny. Rive’s bank manager is
a great foil for the gangsters.
Williams and Foster make a comical cop duo and William is inspired as Ben, the overwrought copper who suffers trauma after the death of his boss.
Hopkins and Davison have the hardest job although they are very funny. Their scenes are the most problematic in the script and need some work.
This first Com Fest show is worth braving the cold. It is hilarious.