Yipee-ki-yay again

Die Hard: The Move, The Play (Act React)

Brisbane Powerhouse, Turbine Platform

December 12 – 23

‘tis the season for Christmas parties and Nakatomi’s is set to be a cracker, hosted as it is by Act React in the return season of the company’s site-specific “Die Hard: The Movie, The Play”. The Brisbane Powerhouse’s Turbine Platform has been transformed into the Nakatomi Plaza of the 1988 action film favourite’s Los Angeles location with its levels adding opportunities to fully experience its explosive unfolding as Nakatomi company’s employees (in this case audience members) gather to celebrate at their annual Christmas party until fanatical terrorists hijack the celebrations.

At the criminal helm is meticulous mastermind renegade German extremist Hans Gruber, played to perfection by James Tinniswood. He not only carries himself with a suave arrogance appropriate to the antagonist’s over-exaggeration, but his smooth-talking showcases a spot-on parody of Alan Rickman’s (in tribute to the British actor’s feature film debut) signature vocal cadences of pitch, pace, emphasis and pro-tract-ed enunciation. 

In keeping with tradition of the Brisbane-based company’s other low-fi film-to-stage pop-culture-inspired performances, the biggest role, however, is left to an audience member, with scaffolded support through the film’s narrative from the Act React team and an inner monologue voiceover. On opening night our white-singlet-clad, bare-footed New York cop John McClane does a marvellous job in dealing with the chaos when all he wants to do is patch things up with his semi-estranged high-powered corporate wife Holly (Natalie Bochenski). With only the dad from TV sitcom “Family Matters” (Simon Chugg) as backup, he throws himself into the role and down and through elevator and ventilation shafts et al, entertaining the audience with his put-on-the-spot dialogue delivery of some memorable wisecracking walkie-talkie one-liners beyond just the Yipee-ki-yay of our expectations. And the consequential improv in response only cements the comic apabilities of the Act React performers.

Experience of “Die Hard: The Movie, The Play” is about little (sometimes unpredictable) moments as much as complete package of its parody of the ‘80s time capsule film franchise. The interactive show cleverly operates on many levels, including through pop culture nods to the bodies of work of the film’s cast of actors. Trademark Act React low-fi special effects and inventive low budget props not only help bring the Christmas classic to stage in a way that ensures all key plot aspects make appearance (extreme acts of violence, impressive pyrotechnics, a helicopter and all), but provide much of its comedy. This is chiefly the case through the antics of 3DS (Ellen Hardisty) in motion capture green skin tight suit, especially in her flirtatious distractions with certain audience members.

“Die Hard: The Movie, The Play” is mindless entertainment of the most enjoyable sort… light-hearted escapism that you don’t have to think about too much in order to enjoy. Indeed, a lot of the show’s charm comes from it never taking itself too seriously, which makes its infectious fun perfect for the festive season for both full-on “Die Hard” fans and those with casual pop culture familiarity alike.

Photos c/o – Images by Anderson