Adelaide Fringe

Fringe Review: MAN-BO

First there was ‘Rambo’, then II, III and IV – and now, the biggest of all Action Heroes, MAN-BO!!

Fan-freaking-tastically and fabulously FUNNY!!

Presented by Samuel Dugmore and Jess Clough-MacRae

Reviewed 27 Feb 2021

In the first week of this year’s Adelaide fringe, MAN-BO was awarded Best Comedy in the Fringe Awards. After seeing the show, this reviewer could well understand why – MAN-BO is fan-freaking-tastically and fabulously FUNNY!!

In 1993 Hot Shots Deux was released, which was the very funny send-up of action films, in particular the 1985 Sylvester Stallone hit Rambo: First Blood Part II. In 2021, live on stage, Sam Dugmore unleashes his Inner Man(bo) in the even funnier and cleverer one-man MAN-BO. If you want the plot line of this show, just watch any Rambo or Stallone action film.

Our hero Mambo can do it all, as can Dugmore and more (yes, it’s a pun on Sam’s name!) under the astute direction of Jess Clough-MacRae. Manbo is a loner and Dugmore is alone on-stage: except for help from “Contact Woman” (who may or not be a woman depending on the day), best friend “Adrian” (say it with a Stallone accent to get the joke) and typical Russian henchman “Boris” (who, on the day reviewed, really entered into the spirit of things and was great). Yes, this does mean that there is a little audience participation, but it is purely voluntary (apart from the ‘dying’ and the big battle ‘scene’ – see the show to find out more) and extremely COVID safe. This last point is very impressive and responsible on the producers’ part and needs to be applauded.

Dugmore is superb! His mastery of physical comedy is magnificent. His flexibility in body and facial expressions conjure up images that are incredibly believable to us. Images that we could normally only see on film such as our hero being lifted up hanging from a helicopter, or the wonderfully cliched walking in slo-mo (no, NOT sco-mo) away from an outrageous million-dollar explosion, are brought wonderfully to life just by Dugmore’s masterly physical manipulations. The ‘getting back to shape montage’ is worth the price of admission alone. “Stallone Sexy” has nothing on “Dugmore Dazzle”!

In case you haven’t worked it out by now, MAN-BO is one extremely hilarious show from go to woah. You will wish you were shot by an AK-47 if you miss this!

Oh, and don’t forget to grab one of the Master Sergeant’s balls as you enter the venue.

Reviewed by Brian Godfrey

Venue: The Arch at Holden Street Theatres

Season: 9 – 14 March 2021

Duration: 60 mins

Tickets: $22.50 – $28


Rating out of 5: 5

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