A promising premise with great potential, The Entire History of the Theatre in 43.7 Minutes is part history lesson, part farce and part smashing-of-fruit, all performed by a fantastic physical actor, Fishlace Jones (aka. Charlie Ranger).
The concept: to teach the audience about the history of theatre, from the Ancient Greeks, to Modern Musical Theatre, in 43.7 minutes. With a run time of 60 minutes, it is unfortunate to say that at times, one does feel the painful tick of the clock with every surplus second.
The show has incredible potential. There were moments that had me in stitches and others that had me reflecting back on my days when I was designing action-packed lesson plans that I thought would be mind blowing; only to find that the my students weren't responding to the material at all, and I have 5 minutes left until lunch to get through the next seven topics.
I must point out here, that Jones is a great actor. Wonderful charm, great physicality and a dry wit. His reenactment of tragedy of Bambi and an incredibly well written Shakespearian rap, were clever, well-written, incredibly performed, and absolute comedic highlights.
Where the show falls flat is in the structure. There are constant moments that have no real 'pay off'. Namely, the ending. Which flails through some awkward audience participation and cringe-y dialogue that crawls its way to the final curtain.
If you are a trained actor or director, with great passion and interest in the ancient theatrical arts, then I strongly believe this show will tickle all of your funny bones. Otherwise, you may find yourself bamboozled by the many jokes that feel as thought they were written exclusively for the elite theatrical scholar.
Fishlace Jones The Entire History of the Theatre in 43.7 Minutes is playing as part of the Melbourne International Comedy Festical until Sunday 28th, March at The MC Showroom, Level 1, 48 Clifton St, Prahran.
Tickets can be purchased via this link, or call the MICF box office on (03) 9245 3788.