Posts Tagged ‘act/react


Love / Hate Actually

Love / Hate Actually

Brisbane Powerhouse & Act/React

Brisbane Powerhouse Turbine Studio

November 30 – December 3 2017


Reviewed by Rhumer Diball



Two friends, Amy and Natalie, come together after ten years of friendship and countless Christmases of debating, to share their annual tradition of desperately debating and aggressively assessing the worth of the infamous 2003 Christmas rom-com film Love Actually. Love/Hate Actually is a fun and playful dissection of the Christmas cult classic with the key goal of determining whether it is a loveable product of Christmas joy or a plot-hole filled problematic mess.


Taking a sharp stance for or against the film, Amy and Natalie enter the space with gusto and clear attitudes of positivity or condemnation ready to break open the Christmas can of worms that they declare is causing arguments everywhere. First, Natalie affirms her critical stance against the film and enters the debate prepared with an in-depth analysis of every relationship depicted. She supports her arguments with visuals of hilariously detailed pie charts weighing up the annoying, the implausible and the uncomfortable subdivisions of content. Natalie is detailed in her breakdowns, sharp in her deliveries and altogether hysterically exasperated with the relentless love for what she sees as film created with a foundation of problematic, sexist and hollow content.


Amy on the other hand, bases her arguments in defence of the film in more persistently joyful and aesthetically dedicated love for the overall season itself, with the film working as an iconic product of worship for her devout seasonal spirit. While Natalie impresses with pie charts, logic and aggressive argument instigation, Amy electrifies with an exceptionally vibrant personality almost as bright as her Christmas tree-eqsue costume that combines festive colours and decorations, with a pope-like hat and sceptre. Her adoration-filled reasoning for the film’s worth stretches across a range of Australian Christmas traditions, a deep love for holiday rituals and an unwavering appreciation for romantic comedies. Her analysis of the film highlights memorable or charming flick moments, however her initial dismissal of Natalie’s more serious accusations against the film leaves the debate open for further realms of cheeky combat.


As the women delve further into the film’s assembly they break down their debate into a detailed examination of each storyline. With each new issue or problematic element discussed, the women veer into hilarious tangents including the dissection of workplace sexual harassment and audience-lead deciphering of content to differentiate pornography from art. Thanks to Natalie’s active investigation, a feminist lens drives much of the debate surrounding the film’s problematic elements, with particular distaste being expressed towards the film’s lack of diversity and its blatant sexist or one-dimensional depiction of women. Amy joins forces with Natalie during assessments of blatant sexism, body shaming and hollow relationships resulting in amalgamated respect for the need to address the film’s oppressive and toxic representations, dismissed every Christmas.


As a united duo the women are charming, hilarious and unapologetically themselves.


Their casual costumes and realistic banter feels uncannily like watching friends debate the film in a lounge room during a Christmas movie night. With delightfully silly PowerPoint slides and hilarious summaries of relationships and storylines, even audience members who haven’t seen the film in years, or have intentionally avoided the niche content altogether, can laugh along to the pair’s hilarious argumentative techniques, saucy and sarcastic skits, and overall cheeky comedic choices.


At its core Love / Hate Actually is a fun and friendly debate that welcomes both joy and bitterness from its audience and combines the passion and intelligence of two female friends, despite their opposing opinions. As an admitted hater of the film, like Natalie, I found the women’s hilarious show spectacularly surpassed the film in cohesion and insight. Whether a lover of the film or a hater of its problematic elements, this cheeky cabaret encourages a loving Christmas spirit and value of friendship regardless of your stance.



Titanic the Movie the Play

Titanic The Movie The Play

Brisbane Powerhouse & Act/React

Brisbane Powerhouse Plaza

March 2 – 19 2016


Reviewed by Meredith Walker




‘Boy meets girl meets iceberg’…. turns out that the premise of James Cameron’s 1997 epic melodrama, Titanic is actually one laden with levity, as seen in Titanic The Movie The Play.  The love story of aristocratic Rose and poor artist Jack aboard the ill-fated passenger liner is making its maiden voyage at the Brisbane Comedy Festival courtesy of Act/React, the Brisbane-based comedy troupe behind the hit Speed The Movie The Play.


Although the movie’s source material is condensed from 3+ hours into a palatable 60 minute interactive 3-D experience, all of the key scenes appear in Jack and Rose’s fraternisation despite being passengers of different classes – Jack teaches Rose to fly, Rose poses nude for Jack’s sketching and then uses an axe to free him from his handcuffed confine and then there is that steamy sex scene signalled by hand to a car window. There is even appearance from Celine to croon of how her heart will go on from atop the impressive set, built from scratch by volunteers from the Queensland Maritime Museum.


Jokes are generated from more than just its movie namesake source material. Those familiar with Leonardo DiCaprio and Billy Zane’s respective film catalogues will find fun in recognition of the script’s many, clever inset references. Indeed, it is the smallest details that provide much of the show’s humour – from the Oscar stuffed in Jack’s bindle to the iceberg’s ‘How’s my driving?’ bumper sticker.


Despite its watchmen’s best hair-dryer efforts, the rogue iceberg seems set to ruin the ocean liner’s unsinkable reputation and as audience members join the band of musicians, others are soon strapping on life jackets and abandoning ship into the three full sized lifeboats leaving behind Jack and Rose to try and remain afloat.


In the hands of director and co-writer Greg Rowbotham  this shameless homage to the most epic romance of the ‘90s is high energy and heaps of fun (and not just in its ‘fun facts’) and therein lies its appeal. Audience interaction is positive and without pressure (although you might have to show off some signature dance moves).


Titanic The Movie The Play is a hilarious heap of absurdism and great for a group outing that could be become every person for themselves with some ending up in first class and some in steerage. For a guaranteed night to remember of non-stop face-aching laughter, do not miss the boat in securing a place on board this most inventive voyage. It will not only serve as reminder of how fun theatre can be, but also the delight of the greatness that was Billy Zane.


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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