Game Boys Cinematic Universe

By Lisa Clark

The Game Boys are brothers Eden and Joshua Porter and this is their fifth original show together. It is not surprising that they’ve garnered a swag of award nominations, including one for The Golden Gibbo earlier this year for Cinematic Universe at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival. They run their festival show like a well-oiled machine. It’s hilariously funny and highly polished with some improvised audience participation for added danger and surprises.

Eden and Josh welcome us to their fictional Studio Back Lot Tour as Damo and Mark, identically dressed with Theme Park logo polo shirts. The logos that appear throughout are part of the details that are really impressive. They drop the characters  early on, but I’m glad they don’t let them go. Alternating between characters and themselves throughout. Other characters they play include Angela Bishop & Richard Wilkins doing their own version of Entertainment Tonight on the Red carpet.

Cinematic Universe not only shows a love of films and joy of theme parks but also laughs at the ridiculousness of the film industry with clever use of video montages. We learn how many Air Bud/Buddies movies there are (a LOT) and which movie copycats earned the most at the box office (ie. we have to guess between ANTZ & A Bug’s Life). They are also very enthusiastic about, and pay tribute to another theme park satire Jurassic Park. So there is a bit of a Theme Park satire within a Theme Park satire going on which is deliciously meta. There is also a tribute to the lamest of Theme Park shows – such as the Police Academy Stunt Show at Movie World on the Gold Coast. The Game Boys spin on this is very silly.

There is a lot of audience participation in the show, from the undemanding – the audience pretending they are on a Back Lot Tour – to dragging someone on stage. I’m not a fan of extreme audience participation, but having a lot of Fringey performer types in the audience helps this go pretty smoothly. Getting an audience member doing foley sound effects for them goes on way too long though it does showcase their excellent mime skills. The thing that really wows the audience is the technical design which is just remarkable and the tech guy does a stunning job at carrying it all off.

The Game Boys are very much about popular culture, with a nerdy edge and they bounce around enthusiastically with almost too much energy for a rather late night show. Some parts of this production are so sharp and slick that it feels more like choreography than comedy, reminiscent of Aunty Donna or even the Umbilical Brothers. Their content has a wide appeal and they are extremely good at what they do. The packed audience loves them and I can see them performing to very large audiences in the future. See this brilliant, hilarious show while they are in a smaller venue and you can say I saw them when….

Game Boys Cinematic Universe is on at Trades Hall until September 29