Bombs Away!: Who you [not] gonna call? [by Sharu Delilkan]
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.
Q opens in triumph, Fringe overshadows Festival, Outfit Rise, Rugby, Rugby, Rugby, and the Death of the Theatre. [by James Wenley]
Attending the recent Hackman Theatre awards, Auckland Theatre circa 2011 would appear to be in rude health. Rude being the word, hosts Nic Sampson and Joseph Moore proudly observing it was a record year of nudity on stage, from the very brave Mr. Sam Seddon in The Only Child to the Dame bosoms of the Calendar Girls. It was certainly year that didn’t leave much to the imagination, containing everything from dildos to knitted phalluses, bath tubs to swimming pools.
The Hackmans were a big communal pat on the back for the industry, a brash and bold celebration of a huge year in theatre. As Jennifer Ward-Lealand and Robyn Malcom closed the awards night performing in a Thomas Sainsbury play that he had written under duress that very night, there was a sense that anything and everything was possible.
As a critic moving from Craccum to my own Theatre Scenes blog this year, I’ve welcomed the end-of-year theatre break. Throughout the year, I could often be heard to exclaim: ‘Auckland Theatre: There is too much of you!’. It’s been exhausting going to opening to opening night after night. And immensely rewarding. While containing some duds for sure, my impression of the year is one of great strength and eclectic activity. There was no shortage of things to write about at least. There was always something on. Between fellow blogger Sharu Delilkan and me, we reviewed or previewed 96 different shows, and even that barely scratched the surface.
There’s something happening in Auckland right now, and it’s hilarious. [by James Wenley]
And I’m not talking about the Comedy Festival proper. We Aucklanders have known this is hilarious for a number of years now. Auckland’s stand-up comic fraternity (anyone who has ever appeared on 7 Days, ever) have been on a renaissance roll for a while.
No, I’m talking about comedy in the theatre. Something very hilarious, and very exciting, is happening on our stages.
Over the last few years, the creation of the funny play has been taken up by three main creative groupings in Auckland.
The Thomas Sainsbury juggernaut has been impossible to miss, the playwright churning out play after play (Talk, Dance Troupe Supreme, The Mall, Loser etc etc etc) and often directing his own work in small venues around town.
Nic Sampson and his cohorts have newly emerged with a series of broad blokey comedies (Tim and Andy, The Burn, Idiots I & II, Feel Felt Found, No Tree Hill)
And after graduating from Toi Whakaari, writer-performer pair Dan Musgrove and Natalie Medlock lit up the Auckland scene with A song for the Ugly Kids, The Giant Face, and Basement revolving cast Xmas shows Christ Almighty! and Toys.
All share similarities, so much so that a distinctive ‘comedy’ theatre style is happening right now in Auckland. It is silly, outrageous, naughty, absurd, and anything but PC. The storylines are often ridiculous. Although sometimes gagging on popular culture, the heart of the comedy is squarely in the characters and their relationships. The plays are populated by larger-than-life characters (with actors as a rule playing multiple characters within a night) who underneath are deeply flawed and have a ‘truth’ that exposes our own human foibles. This, is what makes them work, and is something I have long admired in Sainsbury’s work especially.
This week at the Basement, all three comedy-making groups converge.