Pulp-theatre Tarantinoness

Two Man Tarantino (Christopher Wayne in partnership with Brisbane Powerhouse)

Brisbane Powerhouse, Visy Theatre

November 29 – December 2

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“Two Man Tarantino” is pretty metatheatre. Its tagline absolutely sums up the show as “Two people. One video store. Every cult classic”. The framing narrative of the pulp-theatre experience is very loose but appropriate for a homage to former video-store clerk Quentin Tarantino.

It’s a video store on the last night of video stores, when a staff member (Stephen Hirst) and a customer (Emily Kristopher) have a conversation about movies, leading to realisation that they are both hard-core Tarantino fans. Their resulting Tarantino-off to decide who is the bigger enthusiast doesn’t ever develop beyond mere parody, but is still very funny in its creative and increasingly intense re-enactments. (It’s Tarantino; it’s going to be violent and it’s going to bloody).

In competition for fan points the duo tries to outdo each other with both obvious and obscure Tarantino movie references and recreation of key scenes from “Reservoir Dogs” to “Hateful Eight” and everything in between, including even “Jackie Brown”, because only a true fan would quote from the audacious caper film. And audiences really need familiarity with the films, otherwise without much narrative, the show is just an hour of actors simulating violence, swearing and placing strange fetishised emphasis on women’s feet.

With simultaneous re-enactment of “Inglourious Basterds” and “Django Unchained” as its conclusion, the show heads towards a brilliantly-choreographed bloodbath ending for which the front row splash zone warning and plastic cover sheet barely seems sufficient. Indeed, “Two Man Tarantino is a very physical, fast-paced show full of energetic and inspired fight scenes such as a Hattori Hanzo sword fighting scene, but not with a sword. The tight choreography is particularly impressive in “Kill Bill” (Volumes 1 and 2) attempt by the Bride to avenge the deadly viper assassination squad who ruined her wedding, including O-Ren Ishii and her Crazy 88 army.

Also notable are some of the performers’ impressions. Stephen Hirst is perfectly squinty-eyed John Travolta in conversation about a royale with cheese and Emily Kristopher is brilliant, as Christopher Walken and Samuel mother-f’n Jackson. And they join together nicely in iconic Jack Rabbit Slim’s dance scene snippet.

“Two Man Tarantino” is a must sen for any fan of the director’s catalogue of films, however, there is still enough in it for casual, interested viewers and visitors to the Tarantinoverse. Its hilarious chaos, complete even with an interpretive dance, is of the sort that only the manic director’s work can conjure and revisit to the commotion will probably result in you wanting to return to the genius film-maker’s works, if not at least their connoisseur soundtracks.

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