Reviewed by Lauren Donikian
There is nothing more Australian than hanging out in the backyard with your friends, swapping stories, sharing laughs, and hanging a sheet over a Hills Hoist to see some holiday pics. Well, there was nothing more Australian. Times have changed, but our sense of humor remains the same.
Slide Night! now running at The Sydney Opera House until the 25th of June invites a host of comics, improvisers, and special guests to make up things on the spot based off the slides that are shown. If you have no idea what I’m talking about, a slide is a small piece of photographic film, that enlarges an image onto a sheet or white wall when exposed to light. Think about the projector teachers used in school. These slides include family photos, historic sights around the world, and special moments in people's lives.
Searching op-shops and probably people’s houses, host Rove McManus has sourced slides for the performers to use in this one-of-a-kind show. Through a series of short games, the cast create stories from a holiday, songs, and host their very own Ted Talk using only the information provided on the slide. Split into two teams of three, these performers battle it out to be the winning side. Although they receive points the real winners are the audience.
The Playhouse is transformed into the stereotypical Aussie backyard with folding chairs, a BBQ, and an outdoor dunny. With twinkling lights to represent a clear night’s sky against a dark backdrop, a fence and of course a large screen for the audience and cast to see the slides. As you enter you are invited in by Benny Davis playing the keyboard as he provides a little background music with commentary. Over the hour long show the cast show off their skills with their quick wit, impressive accents, and zany excuses as to why the slides match what they are trying to say. It is an interesting concept and leans into the idea that everyone sees things differently. To watch the performers ‘follow the fun’ that is presented in the slides was the real clincher for me. The slides are already funny out of context, but when you give it a backstory or meaning the audience is completely onboard and believes every word.
There were moments throughout the performance where the energy dropped, when a game was taking too long, or a joke didn’t quite land with the audience. Ever the professional, Rove was able to turn it around and get the audience excited for what they were about to see. The cast was so impressive. They were supportive of each other’s decisions, gave each other a moment to shine and didn’t hesitate to jump in. They were joined by special guests who played a few games and whilst fun and exciting for those in the audience it was almost as if the guests were given a little too much time. I would have preferred to see the cast doing what they do best. There is a rapport that is created between the audience and the cast, and it would be nice to have one last game with them before the show is over. To leave on the same high that was created at the beginning of the show. As each show is different with a different cast, different slides, and different special guests I would recommend giving Slide Night! a chance. With the right amount of nostalgia, cheeky cast members and a clicker you are guaranteed to have a night filled with laughs and thoughts of looking for all your old photos.
Image Credit: Jordan Munns