It seems surreal that Frank Woodley has been playing the manic irritant to Colin Lane’s frustrated straight man since the mid 1980s – which is probably when half their current audience was born.
But their particular brand of slapstick humour, music and general goofiness is still bringing the house down, three years after their reunion ended a 12-year break.
With his innocent silliness it’s no surprise that Woodley transferred his skills to children’s show Noodlenut during their break (maybe the reason for so many young people in the crowd?), and Lane’s superb singing voice saw him performing a solo cabaret and cast as Poo-Bah in The Mikado (Essgee Productions, 2008).
Their material still deals with the everyday and the ridiculous, or simply beating stage props into submission. Then there’s the riffing off each other, dragging the front row in running jokes … and endless bickering. And yes, there was one moment when someone from the audience yelled out ‘Get on with it!’ and we may have agreed. But for the most part their natural chemistry, smartly satirical songs, and clever super-slick partnership, honed over so many decades, still feels fresh and has easily stood the test of time.
There was also an unrepeatable joyous moment when they were caught out by a surprise answer from an audience ‘victim’, and their hilarious reactions revealed the true depth of their talent – and honesty. Ad-libbing is certainly a strong suit.
Lano & Woodley won the MICF people’s choice award in 2018 with their reunion show Fly, and they’re flying still.
A Token Event
Lano & Woodley in Lano & Woodley
Venue: Arts Centre Playhouse, 100 St Kilda Road, Melbourne VIC
Dates: 30 March – 4 April 2021
Tickets: $49.90 – $59.90