And so we gathered for a special performance of Tripod vs the Dragon being filmed for the DVD. Having toured around the world, the successful show has come home to Melbourne for one last time and Tripod fans, eager not to miss out, have come to Chapel off Chapel with costumes, heckles and anything else they hope might get them onto the final DVD.
Everything I wrote in my review of the show when it first premiered at the Comedy Festival still stands - a romantic epic based in the world of Dungeons and Dragons is just as silly as you'd expect, but hits the right balance of cute, clever and comedic while being imbued with a stunning musical talent, the grace and solemnity of which seems entirely unwarranted for the subject matter, which is of course the intent.
The performance felt tighter this time around, no doubt as a result of plenty of practice. The scripted jokes were still funny and the ad-libbed bickering and appeals to the audience never fail to amuse. The fans lapped it all up of course and were especially delighted, if slightly horrified, when the focus of the banter turned to Scott Edgar's mum, sitting in the front row.
The musical side of things, unfortunately, was not up to Tripod's usual standard, which is a pity given this is the performance that will end up on the DVD. Voices sounded a little tired and strained, a few notes weren't pitched correctly and most of the musical numbers lacked the energy of previous performances. The cast were clearly aware of this, and though professional, their frustration was evident, especially after the show finished and the film crew asked them to do a couple of sections again to help with post-production.
But these were minor issues and certainly didn't stop the crowd from enjoying themselves immensely. Costumes were remarked upon at length, hecklers got their wish and the person with the weakest bladder was given a hero's exit between takes. We were also treated to two compulsory encores, one of which was the puerile but endearing 'Blow This Town', whose absence I lamented in my earlier review. Good to know it will be on the DVD.
Best of all though, Tripod continue to do a service to geek life and culture by presenting a positive portrayal of nerds, all snarkiness and self-deprecation notwithstanding. This is best exemplified by the closing stand-alone song 'Bard', a wistful cajun folk ballad that captures a certain experience of growing up, and the Tripod ethos in general. This is the song that justifies the show, and the fans, spontaneously clapping along, seemed to know this and appreciate it.
Then again, while 'Bard' is the best bit of the show, the best bit of the DVD might be a section called 'Elana Stone's Virtual Tour'... don't hold your breath for that one making it on there though.
Marnie Foulis and Tripod Entertainment present
TRIPOD VERSUS THE DRAGON
Directed by Neill Gladwin
Venue: The Chapel
Date: Saturday October 30 at 8pm
Tickets: All Tix $25 (+Transaction Fee)