Friday, 1 April 2016

Sammy J & Randy Land, March 31, 2016 ****

Sammy J & Randy Land
Athenaeum Theatre until April 17, 2016
Reviewer: Kate Herbert on Mar 31, 2016
 This review also appears in Herald Sun online Comedy Festival web page on Fri April 1, 2016. KH
Sammy J & Randy
Expect the unexpected in Sammy J & Randy Land because this mischievous duo just keeps breaking rules and making the crowd roar with laughter.

When they plan to build their own theme park, Sammy J, the goody-goody, nerdy human, and his stage partner, Randy, a rude, purple-headed, bogan puppet, can’t agree on the theme, style, rides, target market – or anything.

This conflict generates a series of often achingly funny episodes as Sammy J and Randy embark on their individual quests to create their own version of the park.

The show is a rollercoaster ride of absurdity and vulgarity that sees Sammy J performing his hilariously appalling one-man musical, A Jay in the Life, Randy revealing his purple appendage on the Ghost Train and the pair performing a Punch and Judy style puppet show about evil Randy the Ogre.

The duo performs on a carnival set design and the show feels like old vaudeville, incorporating a straight man and fall guy, idiotic gags, variety acts that include stick-, shadow- and hand-puppets, songs and crummy magic tricks that include sawing Randy in half – well, in three.

With its adult themes, coarse language and intermittent, graphic sexual references, this is not a children’s show but its balance of raunchy, outrageous adult humour with playful, childlike silliness wins the hearts and minds of the audience.

Randy’s theme park looks much more fun but far more dangerous with its raptor enclosure, killer whale and manic monkeys.

This pair is accomplished and multi-talented, their comic material is cunningly written and skilfully performed and they are totally in synch in both their rehearsed and ad-libbed routines.

Sammy J and Randy take aim at soft political targets such as Malcolm Turnbull, Tony Abbott and the hapless Joel Fitzgibbon who becomes their mascot, as well satirising the Bondi Vet and his impressive pectorals.

“Do you believe in magic?” they sing and, by the end of this wicked and twisted show, Sammy J and Randy have performed some comedy magic on the crowd.

By Kate Herbert

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