top of page

Review: Stunt Double at Studio Underground

Updated: Feb 25

Review by Tatum Stafford

When Perth Festival’s 2024 program became available, ‘Stunt Double’ immediately caught my eye – not just because of its eye-catching promo image, which has someone seemingly being flung from the roof of a car, but because its premise sounded fascinating. 

It reads, “Step inside the filming of a 1970s Aussie action flick and watch as extraordinary stunt doubles cycle through take after take of high-octane flips, fights and more, putting their bodies on the line while the actors reap the glory.” 

This sounded like a really high-energy, intriguing piece of theatre – but after seeing one of its sold-out performances this weekend, I now know it is perhaps one of the most powerful shows I’ve seen in a long time. 

The show starts quite traditionally, with a compere and a well decorated set wheeled onto the stage as we meet the key players; the leading man (and his stunt double), the love interest (and her stunt double), the director, the camera crew, the assistant director, and surprisingly, about 12 people pulled from the audience who played crew members and extras on the film set. 

As the show continues, something clicked for some of the characters as the power balance between the stunt doubles and their leading actor counterparts becomes bleaker and bleaker. These moments are staged in a beautiful, visual way, to contrast the fast-paced, funny crowd scenes, with quieter moments of realisation. 

Without giving too much away, each big crowd scene builds the tension and heightens the consequences for all involved; culminating in a thrilling speeding car scene and a grim ending for some. 

This show is visually stunning; a real sight to behold. The set (designed by Tyler Hill, also responsible for costumes) has plenty of tricks up its sleeves, and acts almost as a character on its own. It is complemented by bombastic sound design and composition by Luke Smiles (additional composition by Johannes Malfatti), and video clips that are projected onto a portable screen to give an added layer of irony between the two leading actors and their director.

The real stars of the show are the two stunt doubles, and additionally, the stunt choreography that was extensive and nuanced. It felt so refreshing to feel so safe while watching such seemingly dangerous stunts being performed only a few metres away, which showcases the talent and training of these actors, as well as the carefully planned choreography. Stunt consultants Marco Sinigaglia and Carly Rees have done a phenomenal job here – the stunts pairing nicely with Smiles’ sound design for maximum effect.

The cast are all powerhouse performers. We had an ‘at this performance’ announcement at the start of our session, which saw a few actors step into roles and absolutely nail them. Huge kudos to the performers: Kate Harman, Gavin Webber, Alex Kay, David Carberry, Ngoc Phan, Matt Cornell and Nat Kell.

You sadly won’t be able to catch this show in Perth (it’s sold out), but if you have the chance to see it at another stop on their national tour, I urge you to buy a ticket. Go in blind if you can – the message and method of this show are so powerful, important, and thought-provoking, you’re sure to find plenty to admire.  

Image Supplied


bottom of page