Left – John DiMaggio
Adventure Time is a phenomenon. Its reach to fans young and old is undeniable, and amazing for a show that is both full of heart yet also somewhat indescribable. The expectations for a live experience of the show are high and mostly because it’s hard to predict what that could possibly be. The voices behind, Finn the Human, Jake the Dog, Princess Bubblegum and Marceline the Vampire Queen would be there. Promises of an interactive show including live readings, Q & A and a Cosplay competition were made. Adventure Time Live looked set to be as awesome as an excursion in to the Land of Ooo itself.
John DiMaggio, Jeremy Shada, Hynden Walch and Oliva Olson are four of the voice talents that work on the show. It is always an entertaining experience seeing the human face that belongs to a voice you know so well. DiMaggio who plays Jake the Dog, stole the show and kept the crowd engaged. His past credits include the infamous Bender from Futurama, and his natural comedy and warm humour made a good connection with the audience. The other cast members also responded well to him and he was the glue that kept the panel together. I would have liked to see him host the discussion with his quick wit, clever retorts and solid background in the industry. Shada, Walch and Olson were also fantastic and had the discussion panel been better aimed at crowd engagement they would have had the opportunity to shine brighter.
Adventure Time Live had a distinctive Supernova or Comi-con vibe to it. From the impressive Cosplay and excited chatter in the entry que, to the panel type of discussion by four of the lead voices. There were show bags and merchandise galore to spend your money on and more Adventure Time themed leggings than I thought possible. It was this vibe that worked for the show. People were clearly there to find out more about this extraordinary cartoon and to add to the already enormous amount of trivia that they knew. The crowd’s enthusiasm was contagious and I wish it had been strong enough to subdue the disappointment that the live experience delivered.
It was a hard sell. You wanted to learn more about the cast and the show overall but it seemed that both of those topics were only scratched at. What you wanted was glimpses behind the scenes and insight into the cartoon that has won your heart and mind. Instead it felt like we were shown left over DVD extras and hastily thrown together segments.
The crowd Q&A was a selection of questions that had been chosen from a Facebook forum prior to the show. The questions chosen were very broad and benign. They failed to illicit responses from the cast that allowed the audience to sink into the moment, to revel in the knowledge and insight that these four talented people might have.
There were moments when it almost came together. Such as when audience members were called on stage to read parts of the script for a live episode readings, when DiMaggio delighted or recoiled at hilarious attempts by those audience members to do their best character impressions, or when there was natural banter between the talented voice actors. But these moments were often disrupted by confusing non-character based video segments that left the audience waiting for the ‘Live’ element to return.
Adventure Time is a fascinating, engaging, random, surreal, intelligent, irrational cartoon. If you have never watched it don’t let this review put you off. It is worth every moment. This live show felt like it just wanted to sell tickets and merchandise. The cast were great but the format just lacked panache.
ADVENTURE TIME LIVE
10 March – Town Hall, Melbourne
11 March – Big Top, Sydney
12 March – QPAC, Brisbane
Adventure Time Live
- Emily Shaddick