Nothing gets a community more excited than an expo. Well at least that’s the case for Batmania when its finest and brightest come together to promote the simple life this lucky country has to offer. Everyone is welcome, just make sure you’re a fair dinkum, dinky di, true blue Aussie. Presented by The Very Good Looking Initiative, Batmania, Expo ‘19 is half of its Batmania productions at the Melbourne Fringe Festival, with the other being its sold-out Batmania,The Bus Tour.
There are some
entertaining sketches taking place in Expo, ‘19, however it fails to
live up to its promise of being an immersive experience. Apart from the first
five minutes we are an entirely passive audience with no opportunity to
interact with the world or its residents. We witness a number of speeches and
performances that go on for far longer than they should, but we are always on the sidelines and never involved.
Both shows end at
Expo, '19, which means that those who attend both will see the finale
twice. Coming from the bus tour, it actually works really well but seeing it
occur within the expo environment, those scenes have no context and make little
sense. Similarly, had I not taken the bus tour first, then the comment made
about Batmanian sand and water at expo that brings everything together would have
been completely lost on me.
These two shows have been a highly ambitious project from The Very Good Looking
Initiative. While The Bus Tour had a few problems, it still managed to say
something about the Australian way of life and its controversial past and
present, as it took its audience on an extremely wild ride. Expo ‘19 on
the other hand appears to know what it wants to do but it doesn’t seem sure about
how to do it, resulting in a series of meaningless sketches.
There are likeable aspects to Expo ‘19, including a brilliant AFL
sketch with golden boy Jason and a dark and twisted Neighbours recreation. There are also some great performances from the cast who are doing their best to sell this town,
but a drive by visit on a bus is probably all that this self-proclaimed
suburban paradise warrants. The Very Good Looking Initiative have been going
from strength to strength since their first show CULL so hopefully Expo,
'19 will only be a blip in an otherwise incredibly strong track record.
Click here for my interview with The Very Good Looking Initiative's Elliott Gee.
Venue: Theatre Works, 14 Acland St, St Kilda
Season: until 21 September | Tue - Sat 8:30pm Sun 7:30pm
Length: 60 minutes
Tickets: $30 Full | $25 Conc | $23 Cheap Tuesday and Group 6+
Bookings: Melbourne Fringe Festival
Image Credit: Seb Godfrey