Review: Moby Dick – Melbourne International Comedy Festival 2022 (VIC)

by Lano & Woodley

Review by Saskia Johnson

In a show where everything is meant to go wrong, Colin Lane (Lano) and Frank Woodley have got it right. Their latest endeavour into the monumental story of Moby Dick is the perfect backdrop for the farcical act that Lano & Woodley have mastered over the past 30 years.

As we walked into the Comedy Theatre to the sound of joyful sea shanties it was clear that we were in for a rollicking good time. The stage was set with barrels and hoisted sails which were used to great effect throughout the show. The performance was enhanced by exquisite projection art and moody soundscapes as well as Lano & Woodley’s considerable musical talents. They took advantage of every theatrical bell and whistle available to them, delivering a grand scale production big enough to contend with the unrestrained silliness of their comedy.

With the kind of comedic chemistry that can only be established from a decades long relationship, Lano & Woodley played the straight man and the idiot who never left him alone to perfection. “Call me Ahab!” Lano exclaimed; though he never quite earned the satisfaction. As he tried desperately to tell the tragic tale of Moby Dick he was driven to madness by his nemesis, the energetic and relentless Woodley.

Image by Jim Lee

The pace was incredibly fast and precise, there was barely enough time to process a joke before another one slapped you in the face – and by the end of the performance there was not a dry eye in the house. Though abundant with riotous jokes, bits, and limericks a plenty, a highlight of the show was Woodley’s clever use of the New Zealand accent and some confusion regarding various vowel sounds; which lead to a slew of well received deck jokes.

There was the odd technical issue, however Lano & Woodley’s quick wit and rapid banter ensured that we never really knew if they were intentional or not – and if they weren’t we felt privileged to experience a little extra comedy gold.

Throughout the decades Australia has come to expect the very best from two of our finest comedians and their latest venture delivers in every way. Lano & Woodley’s Moby Dick is the perfect escape into ridiculousness of epic proportions. You are guaranteed to have a whale of a time.

Reviewer rating:

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Moby Dick plays at the Comedy Theatre until 24 April. Tickets from $52 – $69.90 can be found here.

Lano & Woodley then tour Moby Dick to Geelong, Newcastle, Canberra, Sydney, Wyong, Mandura, Perth, Brisbane and Hobart from May through August 2022. You can find tour dates and tickets here.

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