By Lisa Clark
Innes Lloyd are veteran purveyors of nerdy comedy – Rob Lloyd and David S. Innes. They have previously celebrated Harry Potter and Red Dwarf – amongst others – and of course are pretty famous for their association with Dr Who. Their production of Dracula has not been created with fans of sparkly romantic teen vampires in mind, this has been made for people who are old school Bram Stoker buffs.
It is important to note is that this show is not about any old vampires, there is no mention of Buffy or What We Do In the Shadows. This show is about The Count. Count Dracula. There are still a lot of cute related cultural reference jokes running through it, but it is mostly quite a neat comically theatrical presentation of Stoker’s novel and the way it was composed from letters, diaries and ship logs and such, which certainly made me happy. The crib notes or ‘Fun Facts’ are about the Dracula character and all the different ways he’s been presented in pop culture history with mentions of Blackula and Count Duckula and so forth. In fact I wondered if they created this show just so they could sing the Count Duckula theme song!
There is a lot of skill and experience on display. Great choreography and musicianship, good writing and great performing, as well as fantastically slick lighting and sound from Sam Duncan. The sea shanty is the highlight of the show, being very silly, jaunty and a bit creepy, perfectly capturing the account in the novel. The constant appearances of an unrelated horror film were a bit overdone and out of place though. If they needed to make comedic movie references, Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1992) has more than enough potential material, Keanu Reves, for one.
It is clear that Rob Lloyd is the standout performer here being a very experienced comedy veteran, starting out with The Hounds (with Tegan Higginbotham & Adam McKenzie) who became Watson after he left. David S. Innes is a delightful plucky sidekick playing many outrageously silly characters and they are joined for this production by Jennifer Speirs who is the Straight Guy to Innes Lloyd’s silly stuff, mostly concentrating on playing the Mina Harker character.
I love a group festival show that makes the effort to produce programmes for the audience. Even just a single sheet that celebrates the efforts of everyone involved in the production. It can act as a sort of flyer that they can take to friends. It’s also a fantastic source of information for reviewers!
This was a preview performance, but was pretty polished. Innes Lloyd are very experienced at entertaining a crowd. As this beds in and they become more relaxed about fooling around with it and the audience (there was a little of this tonight which added joyous sparks) it will only get better. For fans of nerd culture Innes Lloyd shows are always a fun night. If you’re a fan of The Count and love a laugh, don’t miss it!
Dracula is on at The Butterfly Club until March 31
1. Melbourne based comedy duo Innes Lloyd are back doing MICF! The pair hasn’t done a Melbourne International Comedy Festival show since Men of Your Dreams in 2015.
2 This year they are doing their own unique interpretation of legendary sci-fi/fantasy writer Jules Verne’s classic Journey to the Centre of the Earth!
3. You’ll be guaranteed Innes Lloyds usual high energy, fast-paced nonsense.
4. Their venue is the gorgeous Butterfly Club! Buy a drink and some snacks, enjoy the deliciously kitschy deco and then see Innes Lloyd.
5. Innes Lloyd promises this will be the ULTIMATE edition of the story…incorporating and referring to not only the original text but also every single film, TV miniseries, concept album, direct-to-DVD movie, failed TV pilot and cartoon series there is out there.
Innes Lloyd perform Journey to the Centre of the Earth! on Monday April 10th to 16th at 7pm at The Butterfly Club
Tickets available here: https://thebutterflyclub.com/show/innes-lloyd-jules-verne-s-journey-to-the-centre-of-the-earth
For more information see the Melbourne International Comedy Festival website:
By Lisa Clark
Impro with a difference, not only do the performers have to create characters and scenarios for themselves but they are also creating characters for puppets as they go and this is an impressive and silly show for all impro and puppet fans.
The host for the show David S Innes does a great job welcoming punters, keeping an eye on proceedings and knowing when to stop skits. The performer/ puppeteers are all brilliant people, including; Rob Lloyd more famous for his own geek based shows like last year’s sublime The Heart Awakens and Petra Elliot from Night Terrace (who’s puppetry skills dazzled in The Magical Oak Tree & Who Killed John Bearington III). Matt Hadgraft does a fine job with a live musical accompaniment on the electric piano.
The faceless puppets are referred to as The Ritas and if you know the Muppets you understand that different eyes noses etc can be attached like velcro to create different characters. The large boards on stage display a dazzling myriad of eyes, noses and mouths for the puppeteers to choose from and are tantalising to look at while waiting for the show to start. Hmmm, not many beards so not many hipster possibilities. Lots of moustaches, an eye patch, a nose with whiskers….
One of the highlights of the show was where the audience member got to stick a face on the puppet from the smaller more portable Face Buffet board. I would have enjoyed more being made of just mucking about with the faces and characters for a bit without the need for scenes up front, but maybe that’s just the Muppet tragic me. The scenes helped along by audience suggestions were great though, including Zeus having a mental breakdown and then getting to meet Bigfoot on breakfast television.
The strongest part of the show was the long form story, in this case it was a Western and the players get to play with the genre, with a little help from the audience as always, but also from guest improviser Jason Geary who gets to play off the puppets (not wearing enough silly moustaches for my liking) and lead the way. As a show with so many possibilities at it’s fingertips I appreciated the structure in place and choices that were made by the performers beforehand and I’m sure Jason did too. It’s always good to have something to hang on to when a show can go anywhere. Jason is a legend at comedy impro though, and did a fabulous job traversing the ridges and ravines of making stuff up on the spot.
This is a really kooky little experiment hybrid of a show and another extraordinary way to find laughs at the Melbourne Comedy Festival.
The Mighty Little Puppet Show is on at The Upstairs Lounge @ Little Sista until April 3