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May 2, 2012 | by  | in Arts Theatre |
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Review – Bombs Away!

Created and Performed by Barnaby Frederic, Ryan Richards, and Nic Sampson.
Score by Joseph Moore.
BATS, 1 May, 6:30 pm

Like PowerPoint presentations in and around this year’s Fringe Festival, it seems as if there has been a rash of musicals recently. The New Zealand International Comedy Festival is off to a flying start with this new bomb-based production. Bombs Away! centres around three young friends who all fail their exam from the New Zealand Bomb Academy where, apparently, they miss the tutor’s maxim of “don’t let the bomb explode.” There is the leader, and general He-Man, A.D (Sampson), the nerdy – but nonetheless hot – scientist, Ben (Frederic), and the dumb-fuck Matt (Richards). These three unlikely lads take it upon themselves, naturally, to disarm bombs planted by a “bomb terrorist” who is trying to destroy the New Zealand tourism industry. Although the production values are such that they appear to be racing themselves to the bottom of a very tall cliff, there is something charming about this musical.

One simply cannot review a musical without reference to the singing and score. The former of these leaves a little to be desired. Even though there were technical issues – with the microphones not working for the first number and one not working at all throughout the show – that meant it was difficult to hear some of the singing, what we could hear was not the most appeasing. Although it is clear that the cast can sing – with particular mention to be made of Frederic – some of the harmonies lacked all sense of harmony that came more from lack of skill rather than from humorous effect. Yet it must be said that “We Were Born”, a number that sets the group off on their mission to protect our tourism industry from bombings, was both catchy and technically well-done.

One of the defining characteristics of musical theatre is camp irreverence. And it is this Bombs Away! has in spades. The production doesn’t take itself too seriously (it is, after all, comedy) and the joy of the three actors is almost palpable. The actors are also to be congratulated for making the usually terribly boring duet between the lead character and his estranged (almost invariably oddly enough) female love-interest actually interesting; not only is it a stroke of genius to have the actors sing about the banalities of a relationship—in said duet such as plain potatoes unencumbered by flavour or seasoning—but also to have the wife in very bad drag.

I have to admit that the comedy throughout Bombs Away! is not really my cup of tea. However, the audience lapped it up and showered upon the actors lavish applause. What the production does provide is a solid night’s entertainment of the (almost) cringe-worthy variety.

Bombs Away! runs until 5 May, 6:30pm. Tickets cost $20/$14.

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Comments (3)

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  1. Calum says:

    Although Barnaby Frederic did help write the play, the part of Ben was actually performed by me, Calum Gittins.

    • Barnaby Fredric says:

      He’s right

    • Neal Barber says:

      I do apologise Calum! Please be assured neither your level of hotness nor your musical prowess are predicated on your being someone else. I shall have to ensure the monkeys are thoroughly flagellated.

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