Tuesday 27 August 2019

Game Boys Cinematic Universe - Melbourne Fringe Festival preview

Most of us have fond memories of trips to theme parks such as Warner Bros. Movie World, Universal Studies, Dreamworld and even Gumbuya Park (now Gumbuya World). As part of the Melbourne Fringe Festival, audiences can not only relive these moments but also experience a new and exciting park with Game Boys Cinematic Universe. Our personal guides, brothers Eden and Josh Porter take us on the famous Game Boys Studios Backlot Tour, to be dazzled by all the behind-the-scenes magic and getting a unique look into how the movie industry operates.

The Porters have numerous memories related to theme parks, where even the not-so-great ones are still entertaining. “We went to Movie World up in Queensland one holidays as a family and on the back-lot tour they tried to get our Mum up on stage for a green screen performance. They did not know our Mum. She initially pretending not to notice them pointing at her, followed by the head shake, then the "no", then the "no thank you", then the "no, not interested",” the brothers tell me. “Then the guide tried to do the old trick where they ask the audience to cheer for the lady in the floral dress to come up on stage which works 99% of the time. Mum was the 1%. After about 6 minutes of trying to get her up, he finally gave up and the tour continued with a much more fun volunteer.”

Drawing from these holiday moments, their sharp humour earned Game Boys Cinematic Universe a Golden Gibbo nomination at this year’s Melbourne International Comedy Festival. The recognition and the time that has passed meant the duo have been able to look at the show for improvements and recognise the parts that work well for the audience and themselves. “It's great coming back to a show you've done before because you're starting from such a strong base. We don't tend to do any development during a season - maybe make a few cuts here or there, but the proper changes wait for another season,” they explain. “There's more confidence in the material because it's all been tested in front of a live audience but given that our writing is mainly making each other laugh, it's rare that anything makes it to the stage that doesn't really work. You do have to resist the temptation to make changes because you're bored of something and make sure you're making changes for the right reasons.”

“Our process generally starts with brainstorming ideas, settings and broad-stroke themes for the show, and this year it was 'cinema' and everything that encompasses. We write down as many interesting and funny ideas as we can which tie into the theme, no matter how loosely. We start to work on how they might all be weaved together in some way which is when we came up with the whole 'movie theme park back lot tour' through-line this year. From there it's culling and refining them as different sketches. Then we spend way too much time building amazing video pieces and props to support everything which is followed by a mad few weeks at the end pulling it all together.”

They may be brothers for life, but it’s only been in the last five years that the two have been working together as Game Boys. “Our first show was The Extraordinary General Meeting at the 2011 Melbourne Fringe Festival, and it was written and performed by an ensemble put together from cast mates from our years performing in the Monash Law Revue. A few years later, the members went their separate ways, so we decided to see if we could put on something ourselves and Game Boys was born,” they recall. “We have been doing a new show each year ever since 2014 and have been going from strength to strength with us becoming more creatively ambitious each year.”

The brothers don’t lie when they refer to having a creatively ambitious show with some surprising and inspired use of AV technology present throughout, including the sound studios where Hans Zimmer is hard at work and a Jurassic Park thrill ride that is a highlight of the tour, with some added features this season. “We have such a love for the film that it was heaps of fun working out which bits best translate to the stage and which bits we could reproduce in inventive and original ways. We're particularly thrilled with the T-Rex jeep chase which is new for the Fringe season.”

“We mainly set out to make a show that's fun and enjoyable for the audience and we write the kind of material that we would like to sit in as an audience. That said, we always include educational elements with some fun facts and trivia and often critique the industries that we love,” they tell me. “Our previous shows aired some of our grievances with the games industry and this year we're letting people know some of the movie industry trends we hate *cough* Reboots *cough* Excuse me.”


1. If you had to name your child after a vegetable what would it be?

Eden: Is Couscous a vegetable?
Josh: Rocket.
2. Which reality TV show would you most like to appear/compete on?
Eden: We are actually Survivor fans from way back. It truly is the greatest reality TV show of all time. Making and breaking alliances while pretending to be someone's friend all the way to a sweet half a million.

Josh: Survivor - but not a Blood vs Water season. I'd want to play it alone.
3. A movie that sums up my life is
Eden: White Men Can't Jump.
Josh: Air Bud, because I used to play basketball when I was younger and I once dressed up as him for a party. 
4. What's the one thing that happened during a show you were involved with that you wish you could forget?
Eden: Cancelling opening night of our 2019 Comedy Festival show due to technical difficulties and then having to tell the 40 people waiting out the front that the show would in fact NOT go on.
Josh: During one of our early shows, Apartmentocalypse, a woman got up during the show and walked down the front to share a plate of muffins with her friends in the front row! I got entirely distracted and completely forgot where we were in the show and it ground to a halt until one of the other performers got us back on track. 
5. Art is
Eden: Subjective. 
Josh: Taking chances. 


Venue: Trades Hall, Cnr Lygon & Victoria Sts, Carlton.
Season: 21 - 29 September | Tues - Sat 9:45pm, Sun 8:45pm 
Length: 50 minutes 
Tickets: $25 Full | $20 Conc and Group 4
Bookings: Melbourne Fringe Festival

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