Speed the Movie the Play




Speed the Movie the Play

Brisbane Powerhouse & Act/React

Brisbane Powerhouse Plaza

March 3 – 21 2015

Reviewed by Xanthe Coward

Sorry, I’m just too tired to solve the formatting issues here. Frankly, this is one you don’t even need to read. THE NEED IS FOR SPEED. This show is fine and super fun; if you can get a ticket you should hurry up and go.


there are too many terrific shows on offer at Brisbane Comedy Festival! You can’t see them all!

What do you do?







On Friday night I offered to pick up our homestay student and her friend from the Good Life fest in Doomben. It was my fourth consecutive night in Brisbane last week after seeing The Laramie Project, The Seagull and The Naked Magicians. I didn’t mind heading down again because the extra trip meant a) I could stop in to meet one of the fabulous women who is helping me build a new little business (clearly, I wasn’t busy enough!) b) Poppy and I could hang out and do dinner and a show and c) I knew the girls would get home safely with me. 

You may have missed out – it may have sold out – but I’ll tell you about it anyway. Yep. You guessed it! Speed the Movie the Play is a clever little tribute to the 1994 film starring Keanu Reeves, Dennis Hopper and Sandra Bullock. It parodies every aspect of the film, including the absolute ludicrousness of the entire situation. At least, it seemed ludicrous in 1984…let’s not think too much about that. Not surprisingly, the live “little-show-on-a-bus-that-could” has been extended due to popular demand for a third week. And Brisbane Powerhouse says it’s SOLD OUT. If I were you I’d turn up anyway, on any given night, in case there are no-shows. If you can’t see it, head to Bar Alto and then something else. Brisbane Powerhouse is a hip, happening venue and it’s fun JUST TO BE THERE.


Speed the Movie the Play is one of those so-crazy-it-just-might-work creations. Just like our Mystery Bus – a Woodford Folk Festival institution and one of our all-time favourite gigs – this show is actually presented ON A BUS. It’s a great gimmick! (And its pretty funny to watch the crowd outside watching the crowd on the bus!).


We hang about by the Powerhouse doors, awaiting instructions, and when everyone is assembled there we enter an “elevator”. It’s the square cousin of The Naked Magicians’ Circle of Mystery and it comes crashing to the basement floor all around us, just like in the movie, only not at all like in the movie because SAFETY FIRST. This is the first indication that this show is going to be DIFFERENT. AND CRAZY. AND FUN. We suspend disbelief. We can sit wherever we like (Poppy wants an up-front seat and I remind her that this company probably doesn’t know about my reluctance surrounding audience participation. This could present a problem. She says, “Well, if they hand you a card just read it, Mummy. That’s all you have to do.” Oh. Right. Of course. No problem.). We follow Jack Traven (Dan Beetson) down the side of the bus, where a madman leaps out and threatens to blow up his hostage.



Well, in this instance the hostage escapes with his life, and we are hustled onto the bus (Beetson’s Co-Creator, Natalie Bochenski is already on the bus #crazylady), where a volunteer Sandra Bullock sits behind the wheel!

The bus appears to be moving – sort of – and we laugh out loud while performers clad in theatre blacks travel past the windows with an inflatable palm tree, a bus stop sign and then, wearing box cars on shoulder straps, jostle for position at an imaginary set of traffic lights. It’s very funny because, well, it’s a bit like The Wiggles on ice. No, not Disney’s ice…


The entire plot is condensed into a 60-minute show, so there’s a lot more action than dialogue (and several pauses are probably too long for the intended dramatic effect), but it’s all delivered with tongues placed firmly in cheeks, and willing members of the audience get a good shot at shouting out selected lines from the movie. These are printed on cards and distributed randomly. The guy sitting opposite me reads with some conviction, “I have a wife and kids!” And I get, “I have TWO wives and kids!” Poppy thinks this is HILARE. “AND VERY BRAVE OF YOU, MAMA.” In case you’re wondering, Act/React has given this show an M15+ rating, but I feel this is overly considerate of the company (the only really graphic sexual reference for example, goes right over the eight-going-on-twenty-eight year old’s head), or else they were very kind about the language and some of the jokes used on the night we attended, in which case, thank you Act/React! 

A short, loud, bold show, packed full of wonderfully silly special effects and funny famous one-liners, Speed the Movie the Play is perfect festival fare and probably the most fun you’ll have at Brisbane Comedy Festival.

It may well be SOLD OUT! But go anyway and be a stowaway, or steal a ticket from an unsuspecting punter at the doors of the Powerhouse… OR lament at the bar because you didn’t book early enough and let this be a lesson to you.

The season continues with or without you Friday 13 March 7.15pm; Friday 13 March 8.45pm; Saturday 14 March 7.15pm; Saturday 14 March 8.45pm; Sunday 15 March 7.15pm; Tuesday 17 March 7.15pm; Wednesday 18 March 7.15pm; Friday 20 March 7.15pm; Saturday 21 March 7.15pm


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