At least you know what you’re in for. The name is a dead giveaway: The Attack of the Attacking Attackers is a stupid, stupid play.
It’s not a criticism in itself. In fact, with the original goal of creating La Boite’s first unashamedly “stupid play” (as the program proudly boasts), the self-described “stupid people” responsible have achieved a level of theatrical idiocy usually only found in the most amateur productions.
Remarkably, co-creators Jonathon Oxlade, Matthew Ryan, Lucas Stibbard and Neridah Waters (all but Ryan also perform) are getting paid to do this. That alone deserves credit.
The play is billed as a warped love letter to sci-fi, horror, sibling rivalry, teenage pulsations and the War on Terror, with inspirations listed as childhood, Lego, the Muppets, ABC afternoon television and Dungeons and Dragons. It is, madly, a faithful homage to the lot.
So the badge-hungry Brownie, the closeted jock brother and his bimbo cheerleading girlfriend camp in the woods to star-gaze. Oh, and a weedy nerd who has escaped his life in a bubble (who the brother is in love with, naturally). Plus a creepy park ranger. Anyway, the cheerleader falls into the swamp and is deflowered snuff-style by a tentacled puppet monster. The gang embarks on a search only to come across her evil twin escaped from prison, a horny voodoo witch, and earth-invading aliens ever-ready for a bit of probing…. Well, you get the idea.
It is, let’s say, vividly imaginative. Colourfully, cleverly staged with props and puppets (including a chorus of furry forest critters and a well-utilised shadow puppet display). Certainly never boring for the rapid-fire 90 intermission-free minutes.
But it’s also entirely pointless. And commits the most unforgivable sin for theatrical farce: it just doesn’t bring the funny.
The cast does ham it up with infectious enthusiasm. Special mention goes to local talent Waters, who relishes what is probably her only career opportunity to appear in the same scene as a spoilt-kid Brownie and a coconut bikini-clad voodoo warrior, and ring-in Emma Pursey, who really does belt it to the back row as the bobble-headed cheer girl-turned-vampy villain.
Opening night also saw a cameo from outgoing La Boite Artistic Director and CEO Sean Mee, who in the grand tradition of B-grade schlock (and an in-joke for the raucous crowd of family, friends and various company hangers-on) is killed almost instantly and dragged off stage into retirement.
Mee has brought some impressive productions, and importantly some very Australian and very Queensland stories, to the Roundhouse Theatre stage during his tenure. That it ends on this altogether slapstick-silly, and highly generic, note is a bit of a shame, really.
This is cream pie-in-the-face inanity. No real ideas to hang it off (if there was a comment on the War on Terror, it’s entirely unclear what it’s saying), no fully-formed characters to relate it to and no great wit in the dialogue. Stupid is not inherently funny or entertaining in itself.
As a pop culture comedic Attack, it’s actually pretty impotent.
La Boite Theatre Company
Attack of the Attacking Attackers!
Created by Jonathon Oxlade, Matthew Ryan, Lucas Stibbard & Neridah Waters
Venue: Roundhouse Theatre, Musk Ave. Kelvin Grove Urban Village
Season: 30 October – 15 November
Times: Tues & Wed 6.30pm, Thurs-Sat 8pm
Tickets: $44/$37; Groups 5+ $40; Under 25 years $25
Bookings: laboite.com.au or 3007 8600
Warning: Show contains low-level coarse language, sexual references, adult themes and depictions of violence.