Professor Mounteforte D. Hamsalami in ‘Life Science! a Career Retrospective’
Duncan Turner @ The Crown and Anchor Hotel
6:00pm, Wed 11 Mar 2015
Well, that was an experience.
In front of a surprisingly large (and generously exuberant) crowd, a local “Dean of Life Sciences” introduced character Mounteforte D. Hamsalami (played with eccentric aplomb by Duncan Turner) as a professor embarking on a lecture tour. Hamsalami is certainly confident – he’s constantly talking down to the (in his eyes) intellectually-inferior audience – as he talks up his own academic achievements.
But it becomes clear that his career is a bit of a sham. From simple beginnings as a door-to-door salesman, through a stint as a laughably dangerous children’s science entertainer (The Curiosity Show this was not), we see him bottom-out underneath a literal pile of lawsuits. But, having been gifted an opportunity in the Department of Life Sciences at a local university, he finds himself lecturing to us… about intelligent design.
His ideas become rapidly more preposterous… and when he introduces the Mounteforte Principle – which proposed that the relationship between man and apes was “intimate” – Ross Voss stands up amidst the crowd, yells “He’s a fraud!”, and chucks a lettuce at Hamsalami, bringing the
show lecture to a close.
Duncan Turner’s character is stupidly good fun, and his presence onstage was suitably stuffy and aloof; but his accompanying video footage was nothing less than fantastic. The “candid” snapshots & footage of Hamsalami’s life were great, but his bizarre TV shows were pants-wettingly brilliant: Oughtn’t I Should was a great bit of kiddy edutainment, but the Cosmos knockoff that Hamsalami produced for the Russian market was incredible – the crass sudden end, with an immature sitting-on-the-toilet shot, had me in tears.
I absolutely loved Mounteforte D. Hamsalami’s Career Retrospective – it was a perfectly weighted chunk of (occasionally crude) silliness that absolutely hit the spot, with production values that far outclassed the room in which they were presented. I can only hope that this extraordinary character presents more of his incredible life at a later date.
— Pete Muller (@festivalfreakAU) March 11, 2015