Spring Comedy Double Bill (Blancmange Productions)

summerofbloodVenue: TAP Gallery (Darlinghurst NSW), Aug 27 – Sep 7, 2013

Brad Checks In
Playwright: Paula Noble
Director: Steven Tait
Actors: Chris Miller, Sam Smith, Katherine Shearer, Laura Holmes, Jim Gosden, Katrina Rautenberg

Summer Of Blood
Playwright: Robert Armstrong
Director: Stephen Carnell
Actors: Brennan Muhoberac, Chris Miller, Katherine Shearer, Laura Holmes, Jim Gosden

Theatre review
Two comedies that have very little in common thematically are staged successively over 3 hours. Both are structured almost like film scripts with numerous scene changes and emphasis on character development. Four of the actors appear in both shows, displaying range by taking on drastically different roles.

Brad Checks In deals with relationships in the modern era of online social networking. It is a familiar premise that many would easily relate to, but the play strangely features a central character entwined in a web with three women’s affections, without establishing or explaining his appeal. There are however, enjoyable performances, including Katherine Shearer’s Di who is dynamic and mischievous, and the only female character who was not entirely defined in terms of her relationship with the main character Brad. Sam Smith plays a womanising cad with charm and humour with a more naturalistic approach that contrasts well with the rest of the cast.

Summer Of Blood showcases a cast of manic characters, with frequently funny results. Laura Holmes delivers the biggest laughs with her confident comedic abilities. Chris Miller’s exhilarating performance is crucial to the liveliness of the play, setting the bar for his co-actors in terms of energy levels. Brennan Muhoberac is utterly convincing as an adult virgin who becomes increasingly tainted by greed. Director Stephen Carnell uses film effectively and relevantly, interplaying with live action in a memorable section of the play. Film geeks will relish in the facts and trivia introduced into the script, with references ranging from Alfred Hitchcock to Mary Harron. This is a satisfying, albeit messy romp about genre film, and the aspirations of people in the B-movie industry, but audiences will remember it for the schlocky blood letting, colourful characters and the many laughs it delivers.