Review: SPEED: The Movie, The Play
Madeleine Dale | On 06, Oct 2015
Of all the films to get a stage revival, Speed was probably the least likely contender. Prepare, then, to be impressed as Brisbane comedy troupe Act/React return from a sell-out festival run to hold audiences hostage on their vintage B59 Volvo.
Never before have I attended a play where so many dog-walkers stopped to watch. On reflection, I suspect they were simply envious not to be taking part in the immersive, interactive experience that is SPEED: The Movie, The Play. From being ushered across the Powerhouse courtyard by LAPD to the dramatic finale, this production is captivating. Literally. Prepare for the most enjoyable kidnapping theatre has to offer.
Hostage-situation aside, the biggest stand-out of the show is how much fun it is. Comedy is one thing, and itâ€™s well and good to sit in the dark and titter at Coward or Wilde, but SPEED feels like being invited into a bouncy castle. The show is non-stop and surround sound, with audiences members fully expected to join in the narrative. During the hour I spent in my (surprisingly comfortable) leather seat, I had a severed hand thrown at my head, was spritzed with a water bottle, and forced to announce to the world I owned many, many cats.
Thereâ€™s a wonderful indulgence to the jokesâ€”Act/React arenâ€™t afraid to shoot for whatâ€™s funny, even if itâ€™s patently ridiculous. Where this companyâ€™s genius really shines, however, is in their remarkable commitment to the gags. A man running an inflatable palm tree past the windows to simulate movement is funny; several men in cardboard cars slamming into the side of the bus to stimulate LA traffic is hysterical. (It was also the point at which the dog-walkers looked like settling in.)
At every improbable hairpin turn, SPEED is bursting with life. Thereâ€™s shadow-puppet scenery, party-popper pyrotechnics and a surprisingly functional bus. Thereâ€™s puns, gunshots, impersonations and a healthy amount of groan-worthy movie references. The tremendously talented team at Act/React pull it all off with aplomb, from the pitch-perfect accents and Oscar worthy Bill and Ted-era Keanu Reeves impersonations, to their impressive ability to wrangle a busload of unpredictable and excitable audience members.
Taking part in this play feels like being a kid in a toy store. SPEED: The Movie, The Play is pure, unadulterated fun, as you scream, shimmy, crouch, jump and shoot your way through the most enjoyable hour of theatre youâ€™ll ever have the privilege of being kidnapped into.
What SPEED: The Movie, The Play
Where Brisbane Powerhouse
When 30th Sept â€“ 17th Oct, 2015.
How Much $23 â€“$28.
For more details and tickets, go to the Powerhouseâ€™s website here.
Image Credit: Act/React and Madeleine Dale.