Voodoo and villany vex virtuous valentines
Reviewed at the Mercury Theatre on 25 February 2019
Presented by The New Olympia Theatre Company in conjunction with Island Grunt Pty Ltd
Selected for 13 international film festivals, this award-winning filmed stage production is an Australian, if not world first. The Island of Doctor Moron premiered at The New Olympia Theatre in Sydney in 2014 and was subsequently filmed in November of that year. What’s unique about the filming is that it uses 14 cameras, capturing the action from the front, sides, rear and amongst the actors, rather than just from the front and sides of the stage as usual.
The result is more cinematic than the standard stage play that’s captured for the big screen (as opposed to being remade as a film). What doesn’t work so well is that the play was filmed across 10 performances, resulting in the audience changing each time they come into view.
As the name suggests, The Island of Doctor Moron is a comedic ode to HG Wells classic science fiction novel, The Island of Dr Moreau. Add in the schlock of The Rocky Horror Picture Show and a tale of young lovers marooned in a weird and wonderful place run by a mad scientist, and you may be forgiven for getting the two stories confused initially. Once seen however, The Island of Doctor Moron, proves itself to be a very different beast.
Written and directed by Chris Dockrill, with the catchy, toe-tapping music composed by Lyn Dockrill, The Island of Doctor Moron finds its shipwrecked lovers the victim of Voodoo-obsessed natives, a campy slave auctioneer, a TV-style evangelist and a host of other eccentrics, all who are under the thumb of their Master, the formidable Dr Moron (pronounced Morone).
The majority of the cast are exceptional, in particular Bree Adelle Langridge who outshines everyone as Voodoo Valma, James Berkley as the Doctor, and Wayne McDaniel as the heavenly Brother Bob. The large ensemble also features some stand out performances including Nana Matapule as Kong, Andrew Mead as Schnapps, and Jenna Kratzel as Two Dogs, to name but a few.
The live band, under the musical direction of Paul Robert Burton, is awesome, and David Camm’s choreography is energetic and exhausting.
The script of The Island of Doctor Moron isn’t as funny as one would expect for something of this genre, but it is a lot of fun and the energy of the cast is contagious. It’s difficult not to tap your foot along and enjoy the wacky ride.
Reviewed by Rod Lewis
Venue: Murcury Cinema, Morphett Street, Adelaide
Duration: 2 hours