Lloyd Marken is a freelance writer with a passion for the arts who has been published with Scenestr, Heavy, Buzz, X-Press, FilmInk and Weekend Notes. Visit my blog at https://backtothedrawingboardproductions.com/
A fun night out onboard Titanic
Titanic: The Movie, The Play courtesy of Act/React / anywhere.is/listings/titanic
There is a wonderful charm to Titanic: The Move, The Play which allows it to sweep you along on a grand adventure. Everybody involved in the production appears to have worked hard to bring a sense of fun and joy to proceedings, and the energy is infectious.
There is an immersive element from the get-go as audiences are lined up like naval recruits underneath the Goodwill Bridge and a moonlit sky, on the grounds of the Queensland Maritime Museum. Makeshift walls are put up and with a little imagination, a deep sea dive via submarine comes alive, before we move on to more conventional seating. The precedent has been set for further movement later on and that is before the show's real stroke of genius is revealed.
The plot follows the film closely telling the romantic tale of Rose and Jack made famous by Kate Winslet and Leonard Dicaprio in the 1997 movie classic. As writer/director Natalie Bochenski comes on as old Rose setting up flashback scenes to come, she describes what she was wearing on that fateful day and it becomes clear she is pulling someone from the audience.
Yes, the lead character of Rose gets played by multiple audience members throughout, helped along by the other cast members and some well-placed cue cards. This creates quite a few laughs but also builds a wonderful camaraderie amongst the group – we're in this together. Even more so after the iceberg hits and the women have to climb into actual lifeboats and the men cluster around a make-shift band to play until the bitter end.
Written by Dan Beeston, Gregory Rowbotham and Bochenski and directed by the latter two the parody comes packed with a lot of sly laughs and meta-humour. In one instance Super Mario Brothers gets referenced and tonally it does not feel out of place.
While the play is funny by design the interactive elements mean the cast have to think on their feet, and this proves no challenge since they include some of the best improv comedians (Tom Dunstan, Drew Lochrie, Amy Driscoll, Scott Driscoll) working in the country today.
Props and settings are so tongue in cheek home-made and cheap, inflatable pool toy dolphins frolic around the ship's bow for example, that it takes a while to realise how much the production values punch above their weight and add to the show. Jack played by Daren King really does get to be "King of the World" on the bow of the ship and who knows maybe you will be too.
Titanic: The Move, The Play is a wonderful blend of the unique one night only aspect of improvised comedy and immersive theatre, with the carefully crafted wit of good writing and well-rehearsed performance. A show like no other and one of the highlights of this year's Anywhere Festival.