FRINGE COMEDY – The Worst Little Warehouse in London – Cupola @ The Garden of Unearthly Delights – 4K









Alexander Ewers

The Worst Little Warehouse in London. Two Australians who moved to London play two Australians moving to London. There, in the cavernous and labyrinthine bowels of a converted warehouse-cum-warzone, they find a home amongst a heady and impossible milieu of the personably pleasant, the interpersonally challenged and the downright personality disordered. Little imagination is needed to predict hilarity ensuing. But what distinguishes this show as a noteworthy Adelaide Fringe act, is the manner in which the comedic potential inherent to the scenario is harnessed and forged into a rich and multifaceted torrent of solid theatrical and entertainment value. And torrent is perhaps the best descriptor for the veritable deluge of references, both sardonic and jocose, that are woven into the fabric of this piece.

As a performance, Worst Little Warehouse is less theatre than it is adapted cabaret. Captivating and talented duo, Lala Barlow and Robbie Smith, segue between vignettes sung and spoken with an ease that belies the complexity of their achievement. Both vehicles are used effectively to furnish vivid constructs of each of the human menagerie responsible for putting the worst into warehouse. Whilst unapologetically caricatured, these depictions do retain something beyond the one dimensional. Perhaps herein lies the most notable feat of this performance, as the audience’s imagination is recruited to complete and flesh out each character with their own experience of like personalities. Barlow and Smith’s performance, as much about the insinuated and the unsaid as it is about the stated obvious, demands and rewards personal engagement with an ever-burgeoning kaleidoscope of the comical. The result is convincing, commendable, and truly comedic.

It is refreshing to see humour drawn from and levelled at a broad diversity of demographic sources and subjects. Tube jokes, and Thatcher, and flossing (of the Katy Perry kind) and environmentalism and Fiddler on the Roof all tumble blithely about in that truly funny mishmash of the improbable and the surprising. It is testament to both the calibre of production and performance (Sarah Redmond  and Barlow/Smith respectively) that the audience find themselves so convincingly swept along and so consistently amused throughout the hour-long show. But perhaps one should not be so surprised. Take the best of droll, dry British witticisms and mix it with the irony and irreverence of Aussie acerbity, and one is playing with humour of a particularly delicious variety.

One must note somewhat of a lag in momentum as the show draws towards its close. Whether due to growing viewer familiarity with the slew of characters, or a thinning in the density of word-play and comedic references, audience energy falters as the emphasis transitions a little maladroitly from character building to the finale. However, this was short-lived, and Barlow and Smith close strongly with a frenetic number as the diverse inhabitants of the Worst Little Warehouse in London erupt in the sort of climactic clash that occurs when familiarity intersects dissimilarity. It is a successfully crafted high-note finish to a thoroughly enjoyable hour.

One leaves this performance satisfied, and not just with the afterglow of genuine pleasure shared but also with comfortable reflections on the unlikeliness (necessitated or chosen) of places and people we call home. One appreciates too, a fresh attention to the inane details of ordinary life that make the believable comedic and the comedic believable. Perhaps through a lens like this, even the most ordinary inanity becomes warehouse worthy too.

Kryztoff Rating 4K

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