Adelaide Fringe 2014
Sound & Fury are back this year with another epic performance that is a parody of Alfred Hitchcock’s best work including Rear Window, Psycho, The Birds, Dial M for Murder, and North by Northwest to name a few.
Having seen Sound & Fury perform at previous Fringe festivals I now know to expect the unexpected—the trio intuitively know how to get an instant reaction from the audience and feed off the energy in the room to create entertainment and comedic interpretations of classic plays and movies. Hitchcocked is no exception and audiences can expect slapstick comedy, intelligent humour, witty repartee, and some of the worst puns I have heard.
The troupe has a strong fan base indicated by the number of audience members who came dressed according to the theme (please note that a towel, shower cap, and shower curtain will result in dismissal from the venue. Wheelchairs and flamingos are apparently allowed). The actors embraced this enthusiasm with witty jibes and banter between themselves and the audience members—they know how to respond to the audience and work the full house to their advantage. Yours truly had the privilege, nay! the honour, of playing a small but pivotal role as the Antique Dealer who had to read out a number of incomprehensible words, use a circa 1950s pretend telephone, and subtly sponsor S&F merchandise.
The plot follows Elias McGinsky, who is the prime suspect in the murder of his partner and best friend, Tobias, and an unknown man at the Bates Hotel. He goes to New York City to try and clear his name with the help of his transgender, amputee stepmother (a prime example of what happens when you ask the audience to create a character). There’s a police officer hot on Elias’s trail as is Mrs Crisscross, a possible suspect in the case, Robert, the Russian interiors shopkeeper (the result of having to make up a name and profession on the spot), and Robert’s henchmen. In true Hitchcock fashion the case takes numerous twists and turns until the climactic finale, by which point the audience had tears of laughter rolling down their faces and were clutching their sides.
Richard Maritzer, Patrick Hercamp and Ryan Adam Wells are phenomenal in this dynamic, fast-paced ‘spine-tickling’ parody. Using minimal props and a projection screen the actors respond with precision and perfect timing, an admirable task considering that most of the performance is improvised taking cues from the audience’s reactions. Although the humour is barely PG-rated it is intelligent, contemporary, and retains a sense of history through the performers’ mannerisms, costumes and references to historical events, including props and backdrop.
This was a memorable interactive performance and I eagerly anticipate S&F’s return to next year’s Fringe Festival. Although their productions are far from serious theatre, the actors are professional and commit to their roles with passion and vigour. I would highly recommend this show and their production of ‘Hamlet and Juliet’ as an entertaining and distinctive theatre experience. In the words of Hitchcock himself, ‘a good film is when the price of the dinner, the theatre admission and the babysitter were worth it’—‘Hitchcocked’ by Sound & Fury is well worth it.