REVIEW: Bombs Away! – A Musical (Comedy Festival)

Three buffoons trying to diffuse bombs -- disaster is inevitable!

Bombs Away!: Who you [not] gonna call? [by Sharu Delilkan]

Three buffoons trying to diffuse bombs -- disaster is inevitable!

There is no secret that ‘there will be bombs’ in the brand new comedy-musical Bombs Away!.

The hilarious script written by Nic Sampson, Ryan Richards and Barnaby Fredric, complemented by a full-length musical score from Joseph Moore, can only be described as absurd, uplifting, full of life and the height of silliness.

The opening track includes a call to Muslim prayer followed by a song with Muslims and burkahs, but the show is not about Muslims and bombing. Although not Muslim myself, but having grown up in Malaysia I was pleasantly surprised that the writers decided not to resort to Muslim-bashing to make and tell their fantastical story. Instead the focus is on three NZ Bomb Academy dropouts A.D. (Nic Sampson), Matt Baker (Ryan Richards) and Ben (Calum Gittins) who couldn’t defuse a bomb if their lives depended on it.

Bombs Away! starts with A.D. hamming it up with some dance moves that exploded across the stage, followed the other two partners-in-crime who arrived with a Bang, playing the gellignite intellignite Ben and thicko dimbo Matt. And this is how we are introduced to the world’s worst bomb disposal ‘experts’ from New Zealand – a motley crew of well-meaning but utterly useless bastards really.

From the guys who brought you Comedy Festival hits Space Race and The Irrefutable Truth About Pet Food, Bombs Away! is as explosive as billed, and is where no Kiwi icon is protected.

Bombs Away! takes the audience on a madcap ride around the country, the lives of our anti-heroes’ and the weird and wonderful stuff in their heads. It certainly made me wonder what the Aussie’s would have made of all the Kiwi references when it was performed in Melbourne, but it obviously went down a storm.

Without giving too much away, any show with the lines “this bomb has no clitoris” and “I’m so clever I can calculate things to ten to the power of elephants” has got to be written by a bunch of wacky genii (presumably in a temporary altered state of mind).

Elizabeth McMenamin‘s choreography was equally exquisitely hysterical – a bit like watching a re-run of a 1980s episode of Top of the Pops while totally inebriated – awesome! This was complemented by the slick sound effects and Rachel Marlow‘s dramatic lighting which added to the liveliness and insanity of the whole kit and caboodle.

I particularly liked Jessika Verryt‘s No 8 wire props, which added a quaintly humorous element, with Moore visibly changing the set on stage to support the nuttiness of the proceedings.

Special mention has to be made with regards to the catchy music score which occasionally reprised at the relevant moments, to reinforce bizarre themes.

I must admit that the first two thirds of the show had me in stitches as the Trinity of performers sang and pranced around stage. However, the whole spoof on the formulaic musical did wane slightly in the last third. Luckily however the pace picked up nicely towards the end, which is all I can say without giving it away.

Gittins, Richards and Sampson nailed their solo vocal numbers as was the case with their individual acting.

Another thing I really enjoyed was the characters running into the audience and occasionally appearing in the sidelines, without any warning. It definitely was a great device to keep the audience on their toes.

It was great to see and hear the audience in hysterics throughout and with a little less repetition of the consecutive explosions the pace would have been more stratospheric all the way through.

The production was successful though and certainly went off with a bang! And if it was improv the premise would have to be something like “The setting is NZ, the style is Roger Waters does a school musical entitled Bombs Away! and you can’t stop singing for 60-minutes” with a typically twisted, but satisfactory ending.

And in reality it did indeed come to its final Hiroshima. It could have so easily blown up in their faces, but the actors ridiculousness and enthusiastic exuberance meant they Blitzed it – the most explosively zany show you will C4 ages…

Bombs Away! – A Musical plays at Loft, Q. Details see Q

SEE ALSO: Theatreview.org.nz review by Nik Smythe

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