Comedies about Nazis are not new. From Chaplin and Jack Benny to Hogan’s Heroes and The Producers, comedy is fabulous at bringing bullies down to size and Nazis make great villains. It sounds like a fabulous choice for a second production from the team who created last year’s smash sensation Wolf Creek the Musical but it can be as difficult to lampoon musical comedy with a musical comedy as it is to send up comedy with comedy.
The opening number from Captain Von Trapp is a bit lackluster and strangely sets him up as a hero whereas he’s a pretty dull character and not really known for his singing in the film. There are a few laughs but the performer is such a terrible singer it is a bit of a chore to sit through so not the best opening for a rollicking send up of The Sound of Music. If your show is a musical, then singing talent is pretty important, but sadly none of the performers are really outstanding singers. Some are better than others but comedy is more their forte.
There are a lot of belly laughs in The Sound of Nazis especially for those who enjoy indulging in some seriously bad taste humour and with a title like that you’d hope any sensitive souls would keep well away. The laughs are pretty consistent and when the energy dips a little along comes a brilliant and x-rated send up of The Lonely Goatherd puppet show.
Haymen Kent is delightfully daffy as Maria the nun cum Nanny and charismatic Kel Balnaves (backpacker killer Mick from last year’s show) darn near steals the show again as the bad guy Mr. H – if only he had more to do. The others do well with their parts, especially Brandon Mannarino. I was also a little disappointed that only two of them played the kids.
The show’s writer, composer and musical accompanist James McCann is a wonderfully strange and talented person. Wolf Creek the Musical was my favourite show of last year’s Fringe and I was impressed by Nunopoly his solo show. I would’ve loved to see him on stage more, he could’ve re-used his nun costume. I’m hoping there is a bit of 2nd album syndrome to this one and that we can look forward to more wonderful things from James. There is still a lot of fun to be had in the late night mischievousness here, especially for fans of The Sound of Music or sock puppets.