Speed: The Movie, The Play (Brisbane Powerhouse and Act React)
Brisbane Powerhouse, Powerhouse Plaza
September 30 – October 17
Pop quiz, hotshot. There’s a bomb on a bus. Once the bus goes 50 miles an hour, the bomb is armed. If it drops below 50, it blows up. What do you do? What do you do?
Well, first you need to get on the bus in the first place, which is what we eventually do, after first experiencing the elevator and other initial scenes from the 1994 American action film “Speed.” This is interactive theatre at its most interactive and the result is a whole lot of fun for everyone involved.
“Speed: The Movie, The Play” is, as the title suggests, a recreation of the crazy movie ride in which a young, hotshot cop must prevent a bomb exploding aboard a city bus by keeping its speed above 50 mph (or whatever that is in the metric system, we are told). Condensing the movie down to a 60 minute show length means that the tempo never wanes. Indeed, it is controlled chaos as audiences experience surround-sound-style Hollywood-ish special effects to inventively bring so many of the movie’s moments to plastic, cardboard and projected life.
The show’s accessibility certainly comes from audience familiarity with its source material. Jokes about Keanu Reeves’ career also feature throughout, however, the funniest thing of all, is Keanu himself. As protagonist pitted against the villainous former bomb squad technician played on screen by the late Hollywood legend Dennis Hopper, Dan Beeston does a perfect caricature of the hotshot Canadian actor Keanu Reeves, complete with over-exaggerated, dumbfounded quizzical looks and dopey delivery of lines “Bill and Ted” style. And every time he makes confused comment or gives witless look, especially in ad-lib to the unique audience reactions and comments of each show, he has the passengers in stitches.
“Speed: The Movie The Play” is indeed, a hilariously funny show. It is easy to see why the show’s 2015 Brisbane Comedy Festival season was a sellout. And from the size of the crowd gathered upon their other-show exits in the Brisbane Powerhouse Plaza in attempt to observe from afar what was happening on the vintage B59 Volvo, tickets are sure to be snapped up quickly again.
When it comes to movie homages, you probably can’t get more madcap. If you like your nostalgia ‘90s show, are sure to love every moment of this non-stop, riotous ride. But be ready to have a blast (#punintended) as you join in a narrative that features Keanu, Dennis, a Sandra and you. It’s sure to be an excellent adventure (whoops, wrong movie) if you are ready for the ride.