REVIEW: WMBADx: Ideas Worth Spreading (Basement Theatre)

Review by Sharu Delilkan and Tim Booth

[Performers Worth Watching]

WMBADx: Ideas Worth Spreading (WMBADx) is a perfect Basement show: a symbiosis of the weird and wonderful, with unexpected freaky twists and turns along the way.

Billed as a ‘TEDesque’ experience, this show epitomises a TED Talk gone wrong in practically every way.  From the script, lighting, to the trolls, every aspect is pivotal in creating a somewhat ‘Python-esque’ random plot. This device ultimately results in a show within a show, without a show.

WMBADx does many things with great aplomb. It covers many genres simultaneously, including a multi-media presentation of ‘wisdom’, loss, joy, philosophy, audience participation, surprise, uncertainty, unease, horror and trickiness.

Soon after the show starts we feel ourselves physically and mentally de-stressing as these innumerable silly antics unfold onstage.

The main protagonist Robbie Nicol, a key driving force, gives us a fabulous performance with his engaging, annoying and quirky characteristics, while showing real empathy, respect and fortitude for himself.  He is constantly thwarted by the perfectly deadpan stage manager from hell, Finnius Teppett, who plays a ‘Baldrich’ to Nicol’s ‘Blackadder’ and manages to screw everything up so nonchalantly and realistically that you want to strangle him and rent his garage at the same time.

The actors’ natural personae were refreshing and amusing in equal measure.  Many in the audience were either fans of White Man Behind a Desk’s work or were friends of the performers.  So it was a very warm and responsive audience that gave the performers a great deal of aroha and support throughout this particular show. There is a question of whether future audiences, who may not have as much personal connection with the performers, would be as responsive and tolerant of occasionally protracted stage antics.

That being said, it worked a treat for all of us present. The laughter and hilarity generated by the show was just what was needed to chill out.  It was the classic case of a fabulously funny show that literally turned our frowns upside down.

WMBADx: Ideas Worth Spreading plays at Basement Theatre until 13 October. 

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