Naive theatre meets high tech in The Umbilical Brothers’ production, The Distraction.
Not simply a case of if you cant beat ‘em, join ‘em, the belly button boys have kept their irreverent silliness and embroidered it with audio visual wizardry, rallying simple effects to create comic alchemy.
All of us are so consumed with the screen, the boys are determined to give audiences a real live screen experience. Or is that a real screen live experience? It’s all in the eyes of the beholder.
Live on stage but standing before a green screen, The Distraction certainly shows that The Umbilical Brothers still put the fun into funiculus umbilicalis, stepping up and away from their previous show, Speed Mouse, a perverted Power Point presentation, into a frag bomb, scatter gun, loose cannon audio visual with physical and vocal dexterity that yet again brings the digital age to heel with calibrated comedy, designed to give the digit to the digital age.
There are a number of goose loose narrative threads running through the ninety minute programme, one concerning an impostor astronaut called Whitney (do you have a problem, Houston?) and a preoccupation with babies and buttons. Stanley Kubrick meets Monty Python.
Audience participation takes on a new meaning in this brave new digital world. No longer do you have to be plucked from the audience and put in the embarrassment stocks on stage. Cameras sniper scope the entire audience, lock on, and the boys manipulate the image while conducting a faux interview.
The point of The Distraction is that it’s a distraction delivered in absurd abstraction. Comic choreography collides with anarchy and technical glitches.
Incessantly inventive, undeniably unpredictable, The Distraction is that marvellous amalgam of brain and brawn comedy, chaotic, disarming, on the brink of calamity, and sometimes falling off. Unharnessed hilarity.
Sydney Opera House in association with A-List Entertainment presents
The Umbilical Brothers
Venue: Playhouse | Sydney Opera House, NSW
Dates: 15 – 27 February 2022
Tickets: from $64.90