Sunday, 27 March 2016

The Umbilical Brothers in Speedm, March 27, 2016 ****

Melbourne International Comedy Festival
The Umbilical Brothers in Speedmouse
Athenaeum Theatre, Collins St., until April 17 (28 Mar & 4, 11, 15, 16, 17 April)
Reviewer: Kate Herbert 
Stars: ****
Review also in Herald Sun Com Fest reviews online on Sun March 27, 2016. KH

The Roadie in Speedmouse

Who knows why mime gets such a bad rap in comedy circles but The Umbilical Brothers (David Collins, Shane Dundas) blend it with vocalised, environmental sound effects to create physical comedy that inspires the imagination of young and old.

In Speedmouse, Dave and Shane perform a parade of unrelated sketches loosely linked by ridiculous transitions that are triggered by a remote control that someone in the crowd is using to manipulate their behaviour.

They warn us that the remote has functions that include the usual fast-forward, pause, slo-mo and rewind, but also additional, absurd buttons for insinuation, argument and porno. Look out Dave and Shane!

Using their physical and visual comedy talents, The Umbis dexterously create the illusion of solid objects, exotic locations and quirky characters.

The two transform into creaking, raptor dinosaurs, do a waggish audience Q and A with Schwarzenegger and then whisk an invisible, 4 year old volunteer on stage then into the air in a mime balloon.

They float under water or wander through a mime doorway into a windy alien environment and we witness Dave as Olympic all-rounder, Trevor Spartacus, who screws up his javelin toss, hammer-throw and shot put alike.

Dave drags his microphone all over his body and we simultaneously hear the amplified gurgling and babbling noises of his gut, heart and finally, the weird creatures inhabiting his head.

Shane, who is on a microphone off stage, provides all these synchronised, vocalised sound effects.

They are joined on stage by the Roadie, a sinister, silent and enormous clown, and by the off-stage voice of Tina, their bass baritone stage manager.

The Roadie is a comic highlight as he torments Dave on and off stage, switching off Dave’s microphone and refusing to do his bidding to carry heavy mime objects on and off stage.

The Umbis have toured to 37 countries with Speedmouse and this mischievous pair continues to titillate family audiences as they conjure objects out of thin air.
By Kate Herbert

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