Setting a sketch show entirely on board a flight bound for Bali is a fascinating concept and the team at Infinite Dads (Jarryd Bendall and Jenni Townsend) present some fun high-jinx at 40000 feet. Greeted by the cabin crew and enduring all the pre-flight checks, the audience is transported to this claustrophobic environment where we meet all manner of wacky characters. While the audio safety briefing is pretty funny, the video version on the facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/Infinite-Dads-149616882119093/) is better as it fills in some of the gaps.
They cover most of the standard tropes of air travel but thankfully not the food. It’s not all predictable fare – they manage to add some interesting twists to some well-trodden paths and there are a number of absurd sketches that go in inspired directions. However, the many arguing couples and a pair of YouTube teens could easily fit into any setting and seem to have been shoehorned into the theme.
The pair throw themselves wholeheartedly into the performance with plenty of exaggerated gesturing and wacky voices. They corpse a number of times, slowing things down a little, and this enthusiasm rubs off onto the audience somewhat. When they introduce a third character into this two hander things get a little clunky. Bendall ducks off stage, re-emerges as a new character and does the same disappearing act to get the original guy back into the scene.
Using minimal costume changes, they transition from one character to the next quickly to ensure that scenes flow seamlessly from one to the next, which happens so smoothly that it leaves minimal room for audience applause. Townsend switches genders for some of the roles but this is often not vital to the scene. Perhaps she digs putting on a comical moustache?
Being set on a plane means that staging is streamlined as they are usually performing seated next to each other rather than bouncing all over the stage but they get physical when required. It was nice to see all the sketches being tied neatly into the same world. This was not just with characters from other sketches popping in and out but a montage of the entire cabin that shows a particular sequence of events– a clever concept that saves this from being a sequence of disparate scenes.
The airplane concept was a pleasant surprise as the pre festival publicity doesn’t mention it at all. With almost everyone used to airline travel nowadays, there is plenty to appeal in this amusing hour of sketch by a pair of talented comedic actors.
Old Maude is on at The Improv Conspiracy until September 23.