Wolf Creek: The Musical
SPUR @ Format
10:30pm, Wed 6 Mar 2013
I really loved Wolf Creek, despite the creepy guy in the near-empty cinema shifting seats directly behind me and my ex every five minutes throughout the tense parts of the movie… though I have to admit, that bloke made the nervous tension all-the-more heightened.
But a spoof of Wolf Creek, in the style of a musical? Written and performed by a bunch of Adelaide’s younger comics? That’s got to be a bit of a joke, right?
Thankfully, yes… and, even better, it’s a joke that never got old throughout the show.
Written by local comedians Demi Lardner and James McCann, the plot of the movie is somewhat adhered to, with Kel Balnaves dominating in his portrayal of backpacker-hunting Mick; he almost outshines John Jarratt’s original, with a looming physical presence and glassy-eyed intensity that never fails to amuse in its over-the-top-ness.
A lot of the humour comes from the deliberate contrasts in casting; whilst Balnaves plays it (relatively) straight, Demi Lardner’s role as the leading man (was her beard drawn on with charcoal?) is so awkwardly stilted that her portrayal of Ben as a horny Greek adonis becomes a comical highlight. But she’s fighting for that title against Chris Knights, who – in another gender-bending twist – plays a female backpacker, his bright blonde wig catching on his (most definitely real) beard.
It’s a show that celebrates its lo-fi-ness – the cardboard car (with number plates reading “W3R3FKD”) being a glorious example, along with the constant references to the clam-shilling sponsor of the show. Angus Hodge’s constant re-use for minor characters (and even inanimate objects) is well managed, and McCann’s songs are peppy numbers contrasted with vicious lyrics (especially the rape dungeon song), sung with off-key gusto by the cast, and they just work.
Wolf Creek: The Musical was a bloody brilliant bit of comic theatre, and – perversely – almost the very opposite of the show I’d seen beforehand. But, in some strange way, the thread of commonality between the two shows helped me appreciate them both even more; it was a brilliant pairing, and one of the best Happy Scheduling Accidents I’ve ever made during Mad March.
— Pete Muller (@festivalfreakAU) March 6, 2013