Possessed | Frank WoodleyComedian Frank Woodley takes to the stage with the amusing, one-man divertissement ‘Possessed’.  Formerly of the infamous Australian comic duo ‘Lano and Woodley’, Frank finds himself without his partner in this sometimes spooky, sometimes funny love story. And it has to be said that although his flare for 21st century clowning and slapstick amuses audiences, it does not hit the same punches that the favoured dished out.

‘Possessed’ features the talents of some of Australia’s most interesting artists. Directed by KAGE Physical Theatre’s Kate Denborough, with music design by Paul Mac, ‘Possessed’ tells the story of Louie, a single, introverted man, who lives all alone in his basement flat (except for the rat), happily spending his days creating model boats. Louie is generally happy with his existence, until the appearance of the ghost Phoebe – who is sucked in to Louie’s body and forced to remember her past.  While sharing the same body, Louie begins to fall for Phoebe. However their love is to be tested – the strange ‘couple’ have just 5 days to find out why Phoebe has been brought back…

It cannot be denied that watching a grown man make-out with himself on a couch is absurd and entertaining at the same time. Woodley throws himself all over the stage – quite literally. He repeatedly falls down stairs, tumbles over couches, and runs into objects that move of their own accord. Woodley’s obsession with idols such as Charlie Chaplin clearly played more than the role of muse for the production – they were the content and the action as well. While it was charming to watch these classic comic geniuses reappear on stage in the form of the new clown, it was slightly old-hat. After the 3rd or 4th time that Woodley fell down the stairs the audience was not laughing because the joke was ‘funny’, but because it was ‘expected’. No new humour was introduced to accompany the form of the new clown.  It was simply an old clown in new clothes.

In the duo act, Woodley always played the weak and goofy character, while Lano was the dominant and aggressive character. In ‘Possessed’, Woodley is still effectively playing the same character from his former duo career. But a weak character on its own is nothing but one-dimensional. Lano was Woodley’s 2nd dimension. This inability to break stereotype, both for himself and from the audience’s expectations, diminishes Woodley’s capability as a solo performer, as until he can find a way to keep his audience but remake himself anew, he will never pack quite the same punch.

The rather remarkable set design by Christine Smith was impressive in both its scale and its surprising theatricality. The set was almost like a silent character. The various mechanized elements, combined with the surprising duality of objects and the endless amount of places that the ‘rat’ could appear, gave the set its own nuances and ‘character’. Like a slightly senile old man who is homely enough yet occasionally, and for no apparent reason, will hit you over the head with his walking stick.

‘Possessed’ is entertaining, fun, and something the whole family could see and understand quite easily. With easy humour, and playing on the success of Lano and Woodley’s reputation, it is sure to attract large crowds. It is not comic genius, but it is comical, none the less.

Token Events presents
Frank Woodley

Venue: Powerhouse Theatre
Dates: Tue 2 - Sun 28 September
Times: Tues 2 & Wed 3 - 7pm (preview) $34.90 (f), $26 (s/g)
Friday shows 8pm $49.90 (f), $44.90 (c), $37 (s/g)
Saturday shows 8pm $49.90 (f), $37 (s/g)
Tues & Wed 7pm, Thurs 8pm, Sun 5.30pm
Tues-Thurs & Sun $44.90(f), $39.90(c), $34(s/g)
More info: brisbanepowerhouse.com or 3358 8600

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