The Delusionists In Bunker 5
Show type: Melbourne 2009
If you're reading this, it is the end of the world. All that remains on Earth are a few mutants and a surprising number of rabid pigeons. But kilometres below the surface lies a labyrinth of bunkers where the remaining humans wrestle with existentialist dilemmas, competitive squash and more mayonnaise than you can drown an intruder in. Not that they've had to drown any intruders...yet. Following a sell-out season in 2008, join The Delusionists In Bunker 5 for a delicious helping of post-apocalyptic hilarity. And mayonnaise.
The Delusionists are the last people you would want to be stuck in a post-apocalyptic bunker with. That’s the premise of this youthful sketch show, but unfortunately it’s also a little too close to reality, as their shrill brand of madcap comedy is often just too irritating to enjoy.
All five performances are full of beans, but in the writing they too often hope that random surrealism, acted out extravagantly, is enough. But in fact there’s something quite soulless in the way they seek easy refuge in the superficially ridiculous, then perform it with the metaphorical volume turned up to drown out the shortcomings.
Bunker 5 strives for a narrative structure, although disjointed sketches are inserted by means of the cast holding a meeting with random ‘agenda’ items, or maybe just one of the wacky characters suggesting they do something odd. And they would be lost without the blackout, which is over-used as the only way out of scenes that stumble in vain for a natural conclusion.
Yet there are indicators that the quintent could be worthy of something better than this sub-Booshean nonsense. For all the silliness, some of the characters are quite well drawn, especially Alex as the socially awkward leader and the Susie the wistful loner, which enables them to produce a surprisingly sweet ending.
When they rein back on their exaggerated behaviour and writing, they prove much better company, and hopefully as they mature as writers they’ll be able to build on this. As it stands, their spirited baloney appeals to the younger members of the audience but feels too studenty to reach beyond that narrow demographic.
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett
Melbourne, April 2009