Love, lifeboats and laughs

Titanic: The Movie, The Play (Act React)

Brisbane Powerhouse, Powerhouse Plaza

August 19 – September 19

The staggered rise again of the curtain of the arts means that the industry still needs our support as much as ever it did in the last year that wasn’t. Attendance at the return, third season of Act React’s “Titanic: The Movie, The Play” represents the perfect opportunity with which to support a Brisbane-based company; it takes place outdoors in the Brisbane Powerhouse Plaza, includes lots of hand sanitiser moments and brings with it bundles of laughs. Indeed, the energetic and hilarious live show guarantees audiences an iconic ‘king of the world’ type experience not easily forgotten.   

While at its core, the show’s concept exists as a homage to the epic ‘90s romance movie “Titanic”, contemporary references abound, and are about more than just things going on in this new-normal time. But first we must make our way to the ship… and so things begin with a submarine safety briefing as we head down into the centre of the North Atlantic in search of the heart of the ocean necklace treasure that the first of many audience volunteers sets out to retrieve.

After an appearance from the elderly Rose DeWitt (Natalie Bochenski), our narrator of sorts, we are whisked back in time to April 1912 to be welcomed by The Captain (Scott Driscoll) and Molly Brown (Johanna Lyon) et al aboard the grandest and most unsinkable ship in history, its bow high above us. Enter a young aristocratic Rose, on the arm of an arrogant son of a steel tycoon, Billy Zane (Christopher Batkin)… because how can you cram a show with jokes about Billy Zane’s career if you know him by his character name of Cal.

Act React specialises in pop-culture inspired performances and along with “Speed: The Move The Play”, “Titanic: The Movie, The Play” endures as one of its best, even upon a third visit, as fourth walls are dropped for immediate engagement as poor artist Jack (Daren King) and a random Mario (Tom Dunstan) excitedly embark upon what promises to be quite the exuberant and sometimes steamy journey, as those familiar with key scenes from the epic 1997 James Cameron source material movie would know to expect.

The always-energetic cast maintains the irreverent approach as a rotation of audience ‘volunteers’ become Rose (using cue cards for stage directions and dialogue) along her journey of love, lifeboats (donated by the Queensland Maritime Museum) and loss, and the performers are expert at responding to the different energies and approaches that these additions bring, with ad libs that contribute much bonus humour. Add to this a pack of puns, some deliberately low-budget special effects and a pile of potential favourite moments … from a sad mainly-audience-member band of triangle, ukulele and recorder player and an animated Mario Kart transition to a rogue (and somewhat persistent) iceberg … and you are guaranteed some cheeky comedy (#literally!)

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