Fringe Review: Lance A. Boyle's Audition
Lance A. Boyle's AuditionReviewed by Lyndon Hood
Lance A. Boyle's Audition
Written and directed by DC Boyle
The Paramount (Phone 04 384 4080)
Wednesday 15 – Saturday 18 February
6pm (Duration: 1 hour)
It's name is Lance A. Boyle's Audition. The poster decribes it as "a deranged and overambitious musical comedy".
You can't say you weren't warned.
In fact, I can't quite understand why I enjoyed it.
The story is of Lance A. Boyle (alter ego of writer/director/actor David Boyle), book-bolter, unremitting misogynist and wannabe rock star, and the weird, weird women (he wanted men) who turn up for his band audition. With music.
That's pretty much it.
The book-bolting, which opens the play, is possibly the most alarming physical stunt of the Fringe. It's all very well when trained professionals perform precarious acrobatics, but watching Boyle wriggling a live electric drill through a book that he's holding in his free hand inspires real fear.
The auditionees enter, displaying their various eccentricities and allowing them to interact. Then - naturally enough - they jam a little.
The musical pieces break up and compliment the action, and vice versa. Which is just as well, because either element by themselves would have been unbearable.
As a series of audition jams, the music is completely credible. Raw, loose, enthusiastic and often overlong with wildly out-of-balance sound. Mostly based around the grunty guitar playing of Eva Collins and Boyle's hot harmonica - the one not necessarily in the same key as the other - the songs were carried by energy and the occasional quirky idea, as well as the character interactions that went on as they were performed.
Much as the theatrical action was carried by energy, quirks, and the music. The entertainment value of the characters' eccentricities - even the drilling - wore off pretty quickly after each arrived.
Given that the play has no particular theme, the characters and situations barely develop at all, the performance as a whole relied strongly on structure to hold the audience. The music breaks were a big help (in terms of both variety and rhythm). But the auditionees were not, as one might have hoped, increasingly silly (the third of the five was definitely the most fascinatingly bizarre), and the action, while containing a few arbitrary moments of excitement, was not really increasingly frenetic.
Yet the audience did not seem annoyed. I had a good time.
This may be because the cast has - through whatever means - managed to convey such an accurate impression of being under-rehearsed and to make, as a group, no particular claims to good acting.
Under these conditions, they benefit from an effect much beloved of performance improvisors. If you're cheerful about it and show no shame, people are impressed if you do anything - abject failure can be particularly entertaining. If you happen to do something good - and there were some really funny dialogue, some hooky tunes, even some actual acting - it becomes disproportionately impressive.
Gotta love the Fringe.