Whitebone Productions (Joe Bone & Ben Roe) @ The Tuxedo Cat – Green Room
9:45pm, Thu 14 Mar 2013
It’s fair to say that Bane was the recipient of a lot of crowd buzz around the tail end of the Fringe; many people had raved about the show to me, and this near-sellout Thursday night crowd was positively bubbling with anticipation in a hot & sticky Green Room.
And if the Green Room environment was unpleasant for the audience, spare a thought for writer / performer Joe Bone, who creates the hard-boiled titular detective whilst wearing a heavy trench-coat; that he could perform so well in such adverse (self-inflicted) conditions is impressive. The sole other presence onstage, Ben Roe, creates a lovely textured musical backdrop on guitar throughout, and looks far more comfortable than Bone.
But Bone’s performance is impressive as he creates a parody of the hard-boiled action hero. With gravelly voice and vocal sound effects and noir influences, he narrates a pulp detective novel chock full of dames, villains, twists, and violence. And it’s all brilliantly performed and cleverly written…
…but it’s all been done before. Hell, even Sound & Fury took a crack at noir – though, admittedly, their show was very much focussed on comedy, rather than noir. Bane has the opposite approach: it attempts to generate a noir feel first-and-foremost, and then wodge some incidental humour in there too.
But the big problem with Bane is that the parody of the subject matter’s cliches feels… well, cliched. Ironic, really: it’s a cliche of a cliche. And, for me, it never really establishes its own identity; and all the wonderful atmosphere and performance skills can’t help a script that seems unsure about what it’s trying to achieve. Sure, this was only one part of the Bane trilogy, and maybe it’s unfair to judge it out of context… but, on the basis of my experience here, I’d be unlikely to attend the other two episodes.
(143) Bane: great tone and performance only half makes up for a script that feels more cliched than it's supposed to. #ff2013 #ADLfringe
— Pete Muller (@festivalfreakAU) March 14, 2013