By Elyce Phillips
Trillcumber (Mario Hannah, Hayley Tantau, Simon McCulloch and Ryan Zorzut) return for their second MICF with Paradise – a narrative sketch show that is cleverly conceived and skilfully performed.
At the centre of Paradise is Harrison Gregory (played by Zorzut), a crackpot Elon Musk type who has built a rocket that will take passengers to Mars. This trip to Mars works as a framework through which we are introduced to a whole cast of characters in a series of interconnecting sketches, each with their own reasons to give up their lives on Earth and flee to the red planet. Every member of Trillcumber is given a chance to shine. Hannah’s incredibly boring man Bobby is a delight, and you truly feel for him by the end of the show. Tantau hilariously displays her musical chops as a convicted felon, and is an absolute highlight as a ghost-obsessed girlfriend. McCulloch is fantastically absurd and a little bittersweet as the narrator of the piece. Zorzut makes for a wonderful new addition to the Trillcumber team. His portrayal of Harrison Gregory is pitch-perfect, but it was his ridiculous appearance as a ghost that really got me laughing. It’s a well-rounded cast.
Though the overarching concept of jetting off to Mars is a distant fantasy, there is a deeper, more relatable theme of running away from your problems that is thoughtfully played with. Every character has a history to deal with and a lesson to learn. The narrative structure is interesting and shows some growth from Trillcumber as writers. It’s silly sketch that also manages to tug at your heartstrings.
Paradise is a terrific follow-up on last year’s debut from Trillcumber. If you’re after well-written sketch comedy from some accomplished young performers, it’s definitely a show worth checking out.
Trillcumber – Paradise is on at the Improv Conspiracy until April 17