Photos – Andrew Wuttke
The Orchid and The Crow is a funny and theatrical approach by Daniel Tobias (the boy one of comedy duo Die Roten Punkte) based on his grapple with testicular cancer. That and a whole lot more. There’s much to love in this show. The variety of theatrical effects in a one-man performance is a delight. And the stories of Tobias’s secular Jewish family, the idiosyncrasies of the God other people believe in, the elevation of Lance Armstrong (fellow testicular cancer survivor) to a Jesus-like inspiration, are all truly funny. Some of the best laughs come from the character of God, a nastily camp Jewish Broadway show biz God who’s needy, demanding and hilarious. The thrill the writers have had playing around with Yiddish in the song where God’s demanding more and more foreskins is so enjoyable. Who knew there were so many different words for ‘schlong’? It’s kind of Python meets Fiddler on the Roof, and clever. Good theatre works on varying levels and The Orchid and the Crow doesn’t disappoint in its emotional range, plus it’s also simply interesting.
Losing one bollock doesn’t sound like such a big deal when you’ve avoided actually dying of cancer and Daniel Tobias never allows self-pity to inform this work, even when he’s expressing the dismal effects on his psychology caused by chemotherapy. The song about what girls like, based around his first sexual encounter after his orchidectomy (ball removal surgery), is a treat of wisdom and humanity.
A fabulous team of talent was involved in getting this show to its feet; some stellar names from the Melbourne indie theatre scene including Nicola Gunn, Clare Bartholomew, Casey Bennetto, David Quirk, John Thorn and Jherek Bischoff. Direction is by Christian Leavesley.
My only quibble is that Tobias doesn’t have the strongest voice, he can sing, of course, but his voice isn’t powerful and is sometimes drowned by the music. The a cappella story of the surgery is lovely though, and accompanied by a projection of a beautifully witty little animation by illustrator Sarah Beetson (yay), explaining the title of the show. My friend G reckoned that the capella bit was the best part of the show musically speaking and where Tobias came into his own in song. G thought direction could be tightened; the pace was slacking in moments. Otherwise, we agreed – it was excellent. The Orchid and the Crow is a show that deserves to be taken overseas and we were happy to learn that trips to Montreal and Edinburgh are planned. Glad we got to see it first. It’s terrific.
Button Eye Productions presents
The Orchid & The Crow
by Daniel Tobias
Directed by Christian Leavesley
Venue: Malthouse Theatre – Tower Theatre | 113 Sturt Street, Southbank
Dates: 13 – 22 February 2015
Tickets: $32 –$22
Bookings: (03) 9685 5111 | malthousetheatre.com.au