The MC Showroom
10 to 14 May
By Alex First
A couple of bumbling, small time crims luck out in the farcical comedy The Wrong Horse.
I speak of best mates Noddy (Darren Mort) and Big Ears (Dom Phelan).
Big Ears – who has a “wind” issue – is forever sponging off Noddy … dropping in at his place all hours of the day and night, drinking his booze and eating his food.
The pair has known each other for six years and do “jobs” together.
Noddy is the supposed brains of the operation, but he has what he terms “number dyslexia” – that is he gets digits mixed up … hardly what you want from a gambler.
Still, a day on the punt brings with it unexpected surprises.
Although the duo are hardly the smartest tools in the shed (let’s face it, their collective IQ hardly troubles the scorer), both get lucky in different ways.
And then Noddy is prevailed upon to undertake a very unpalatable task, that goes skewwhiff and ends up threatening both their lives.
The Wrong Horse capitalises on good old Australian larrikinism.
It is slapstick humour on steroids (stupidity abounds), some of it improvised, and the cast has a wow of a time with the material.
Darren Mort has a larger-than-life presence throughout, while Dom Phelan is his perfect foil.
The pair makes a fine combination, constantly bouncing off each other.
For me, the play really took off when 37-year-old Big Ears set his sights on hot-to-trot Mary the strapper (Brigitte Jarvis).
Their exaggerated fumblings are something to behold.
Jarvis’ turn as a bespectacled librarian later in the piece also brings howls of laughter.
A regular scene stealer is Ian Rooney in various guises, including the shady, barely discernible, but irresistible Mozzie.
But it is not just Jarvis and Rooney who fill multiple roles. So, too, does Graham Murray as a barman, cop, hitman and more.
Marty MonStar has written The Wrong Horse ensuring it contains several “cultural” references.
The props and staging add to the hilarity.
A two-person couch doubles as a car, complete with disconnected furry steering wheel and hand-held, swinging synthetic dice.
A blank, open picture frame becomes a betting shop window. Clever.
Directed by Marion Arditti, The Wrong Horse has a delightful throwback, good time vibe.
It is playing at The MC Showroom until 14th May, 2023.
About the Author
Alex First believes all people have a story to tell, if only a good playwright can prize it out of them. Alex has a natural curiosity about the world and believes a strong narrative, or narrative with music, can open the door to subjects about which he knows little.
Like his parents before him, theatre is his passion – a passion with emotional resonance, one that moves and excites him. He brings decades’ experience as an arts’ connoisseur to his role as a critic.
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