Escape From the Breakup Forest

Escape from the Breakup Forest

Mixtape Theatre Collective

Judith Wright Centre

16th – 23rd March 2013


Reviewed by Meredith McLean


A comedy about getting over yourself.


Closing night is SOLD OUT so your only chance to see this playful little gem is tomorrow (Friday) night! Be quick!


Escape From the Breakup Forest

There’s something I have to say right off the bat. I was the target audience for Mixtape Collective’s production of Escape from the Breakup Forest. It flashes back and pokes fun at primary school dances in Australia. It jumps into the thick of dating and how nauseating those couples can be and then the smack in the face of being dumped. Women can be cruel after all. Escape from the Breakup Forest is a great comedy for the Y generation. However, what bothered me the most was Curly the puppet. But more on that later.


The 3-man, or should I say two guys and a girl team, went off without a hitch for the 90 minutes of dialogue. This is another one of those plays that to me were inconsistent. There were some hilarious witty scenes that make a bit of tongue and cheek humour at dating and televison shows. However there were some moments that seemed nonsensical and almost childish for this kind of play. Steve Pirie as the leading love lost fool Josh reflected the exact thoughts so many of us have said before all the while making us laugh. Ell Sachs was impressive in her ability to represent so many characters throughout the show. Last but not least, Dan Stewart proved his skills both as actor and puppeteer.


I can understand for a basic plot to function Josh needed to be guided by a local. In fact, the story of the forest reminded me a lot of the cult cartoon Adventure Time. One look at the audience told me people picked up at that reference too. But the puppet, Curly, just wasn’t funny to me. It wasn’t clever like the rest of the play. If anything it was creepy and seemed to symbolise… nothing really. The story could’ve been carried out just fine without it. They made up for this with lots of wonderful references to Brisbane and other colloquialisms of Queensland. Undoubtedly, the audience was laughing all night.


The implementation of the screen work was perfectly done. The sort of cartoony scrawls on the projectors is what kept the play light and cute. Even in it’s more serious moments they were sweet and charming, never dull. The production was perfect for Judith Wright Centre’s Shopfront stage. After a drink at The Glass Bar next door it was good to come into the cooler, quieter little theatre. It made the performance a little more intimate. Even the pillars spattered throughout the room remind me of a forest.


The ending is a little sappy but appropriate in the long run. I was half expecting to hear them say “Learn to love yourself” which is what a lot of young people forget to do I believe. But regardless, the message is an important one. We couldn’t really expect them to end it on a sad, broken note now could we?


The Mixtape Collective has put together something very unique and adorable. Those are the best two words to describe it. But the show is only running for a limited time. So I recommend you head over to the Judy. Grab yourself a drink and a ticket to Escape from the Breakup Forest. Sit yourself back in the Shopfront stage and enjoy the show. That is all there is to it.


And because Saturday night is sold out, you can catch The Birdmann instead, with special guest, Tigerlil! This Friday & Saturday night ONLY!


The Birdmann

After blacking out, The Birdmann awakes cuffed and holding a single black stiletto. Flashbacks, montages and cupcake juggling ensue in a one man murder mystery of comic vaudeville. 


Joined by the electrifying Tigerlil, The Birdmann returns to Brisbane with his new show following standing ovations at the New York Burlesque Festival and general commotion at the Melbourne Comedy Festival, Edinburgh Fringe Festival, Glastonbury Music Festival and Australian National Circus Festival. 


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