Downstairs in a dive bar in Woolloongabba, a troupe of actors reimagine a 60s sci-fi horror in an homage to the cheesiest drive in movies ever made.
Before the audience is allowed down to the performance space, the actors playing actors mingle with the crowd. This was where I was first introduced to Kylie Stephenson playing Marilyn Hanold, who plays Princess Marcuzan. She gave out signed headshots and truly played the part of a desperate, untalented actress.
Once we were all introduced to the players, it was time to go downstairs. The space itself was intimate, and the set was, true to the style of movie being recreated, tacky and covered in tin foil. This was no high-budget film. Once we were seated, Kristian Fletcher, the producer and director explained how the night was going to go. Audience participation was encouraged, and we were told to boo, cheer, scream, and gasp whenever we felt like.
Furthermore, after discussing with some audience members beforehand, drew a name out of a hat. That patron would be playing the role of the robot, to be prompted by the actors and the narrator. And with that, the show began. We watched as the performers told the story of a group of actors filming ‘Frankenstein Meets the Space Monster’, complete with cuts and forgotten lines.
Full disclosure: this is not a good show. The premise appealed to a niche audience, the acting was unpolished and uncommitted, and the director seemed to doubt whether the audience would get the premise of the entire performance. However, this in no way means that it is not an enjoyable show. If you can look past the technical failings and embrace the ridiculousness of the whole thing, it is actually a lot of fun.
In everything it did, it mirrored the source material. The bad acting, the somewhat cramped and poorly lit venue, the low budget props, it all added to the vibe of the show. Yes, some of this was carefully planned and intentional, some I think was not, but either way it is a silly show that was good for a chuckle. It didn’t take itself too seriously, and the jokes all still landed.
The music played throughout the show were original pieces written by the narrator, Chris Richards. It felt true to the original style of music that it was recreating, and it was good to see the composer performing alongside the actors.
Speaking of actors, the stand-out was definitely Stephenson. She committed completely to both of her roles, both the actor and the movie character. Her portrayal of them showed the clearest distinction between the two, and she made a great effort as Marilyn to keep the character alive and interacting with the audience. She continued networking and signing programs throughout the intermission, never breaking character.
Do not come to this show expecting technical perfection. It is not that kind of show. But if you want something light that will give you a laugh and let you boo and cheer the performers at your whim, then I think this piece is worth a shot.