Larry’s Odyssey, Wonderland 2019
DTC Management, in partnership with Brisbane Powerhouse, presents Larry’s Odyssey as part of Wonderland Festival 2019.
Larry’s Odyssey is a modern re-imagining of Homer’s Odyssey, where the audience take part as the chorus and characters of Larry Olive’s journey to his long sought-after Home and Away audition. Vocal coach to the stars Larry Olive (Vashti Hughes) is portrayed as the stereotypical narcissistic mentor, teaching a class of acting hopefuls the vocal skills and tricks required for their desired rise to stardom. But Larry, who, to this day, has yet to reach his own stardom, is both not so willing to see the success of his students surpass his own nor confident enough to reach his audition without being distracted.
Audience members arriving at the Powerhouse’s Graffiti Room are asked to remove their shoes and place them to the side of the door before entering the space. If your uncomfortable with your feet sticking to the floors of the Powerhouse, I recommend wearing socks. After removing your shoes, you’re ushered into the Graffiti Room, which doubles as the classroom for Larry Olive’s Voice 101 class. Hughes, as Larry, encourages the audience and guides them through a spoof experience of an acting class, complete with vocal exercises and grade school dramatics. The show is advertised as an immersive experience, and Hughes truly attempts to engage the audience.
I understand Hughes is portraying an egotistical, narcissistic, and determinedly male character, the embodiment of the overdramatic thespian stereotype. But Hughes plays the character to the point where it felt confronting and simultaneously unrehearsed. There was also a distinct gearing toward male involvement in the show, playing on crude, sexual humour, which meant that I, as a woman, felt quite alienated and unappreciated as an audience member.
I’m not sure who commented that the show was brilliantly written as the show seemed evidently underwritten, relying on cheap laughs and vulgar actions to encourage the audience to chuckle. And sure, this humour gets a laugh, but I wonder if it should when the comedy relies on lowering and demeaning someone else. But still the audience laughed, and people engaged, though obviously not always willingly as I noted audience members retreating to the corners of the room.
If you enjoy participating and easy jokes, then you may enjoy Larry’s Odyssey. But if you enjoy something with stimulating writing and captivating performance, I’d give it a miss.
What: Larry’s Odyssey
Where: Graffiti Room, Brisbane Powerhouse
When: Thursday 22 November – Saturday 25 November