Review by Hannah Fredriksson
If you love a bit of ridiculously silly interactive theatre, James Hancox: Megamovie is for you. Following on from the success of last year’s James Hancox: Action, the British expatriate has continued the tradition of identifying all the winning ingredients of your favourite big-budget blockbuster films and condensing them down into a low-budget one-man stage show that safely evades any copyright infringement and wraps up in an hour.
Megamovie spans every genre; action, romance, drama, thriller, sci-fi, you name it. It features transforming robots, an origin story, pirates and a ship that sinks after hitting an iceberg (although any relation to any existing properties is purely coincidental).
Throughout the show James showcases a variety of personas, bouncing back and forth between heroes and villains yet it’s always clear which is which just by the expression on his face and varying accents. This show requires a high degree of comedic timing, improvisation and physical comedy and he delivers all in spades.
This show is heavy on audience participation – James draws on anyone and everyone available to help make the movie. While some lucky members of the audience get pulled up on stage to play a more pivotal role, no-one is immune from being a part of the story in some way, whether it be making sound effects or pretending to be a giant squid. If you’re hesitant at first you won’t be by the end of it, James has a way of loosening up the audience and inviting you to embrace the chaos.
With the audience contributing several significant plot points, this leaves James at the mercy of whatever they come up with, giving him the opportunity to think on his feet and he incorporates the suggestions seamlessly like the seasoned professional he is.
Music is an instantly recognisable feature of many of the referenced films, James has used some of the iconic sounds to set the scene and define the audience’s expectations before defying them by adding his own cheeky spin on a familiar scene.
For a show with no set, the lighting went a long way in portraying the mood of a scene and moving from one location to the next. Blue light for an ocean scene changes to red the second a shark threatens, then to green once the main character arrives on a dinosaur-inhabited island. It’s just enough of a suggestion to get the imagination going. Torchlight is even used to replicate theatrical spotlights on a budget.
The simple DIY props add to the ridiculousness of the scenarios, there’s nothing like low-budget handmade craft to undermine the expensive prestige of Hollywood feature films.
James Hancox has put together an excellent piece of theatre that pokes fun at all the ridiculous movie tropes, it’s a real talent to be able to take an empty stage, some iconic sound effects and a couple of pool noodles and keep the audience in fits of laughter, definitely one to watch!