By Kipp Lee
The year is 2089, and Theo Murray has used all his department’s funds to build a machine to allow us to view each of the branching possibilities, which all contain other Theos! The opening number, which shows off Murray’s beautiful bass voice, poses many different possibilities – what if the dominant species was ants, or you were born a car? Though the number could have benefited from a microphone to assist Murray’s low vocals, you could immediately see why the team would have been loathe to add another technical element.
Superposition 2089 is an ambitious and technical one-man-many-man sketch show (one real Theo™, and up to 20 on screen Theos). The set is made up of the “machine” that 2089 Theo built, 4 different sized screens, in an array, linked together by various cords and cables, string, bits of plastic, CDs, a remote and any other bits of technology needed to get this device running. The unenviable work load of videographer Shannon Sweeney, filming and editing together dozens of Theos to create the masterpiece that is Superposition 2089 is evident with every sketch having multiple Theos – some up to 20! However, in some of the acapella numbers the audio and video were clearly out of sync, which proved distracting but not detrimental to the performance as a whole.
The content is as wholesome as it is funny, which is to say, extremely. Murray manipulates the audience by playing with the sketch show format and tropes, misleading us in many delightful ways. Co-directed by two sketch comedy veterans, Annabel Cameron and Steph Ryan, the show was a masterful challenge to the well-loved format. Murray, himself a sketch and improv veteran, has earned his chops and is going to eat them too! There are some bread-and-butter sketch tropes of everyday problems in extreme situations, but none of them are predictable. The punchlines are understated and often non-sequiturs. Murray has a sort of child-like optimism and naivety in the world of the play that carries through the wide range of characters, a hit-man, a waiter, a travelling salesman, a hardened police detective, a jowly dog and more! This is only added to by the huge array of props and costumes, cleverly placed around the small stage.
There were multiple tech issues throughout the night, which is only to be expected with a show with this amount of tech and only one person in charge of lights, AV, and sound, but Murray coped well and diffused the tension with off-the-cuff quips, without breaking his stride. At one point, after nearly hitting an audience member in the head he joked, “you can’t do a tech run with a full audience.” And the audience was FULL! If you’re looking to catch him later this week (7.30pm Wednesday, Thursday Knox St Bar and 7pm Friday, KXT bAKEHOUSE) I’d book tickets in advance or you might miss out!
As previously mentioned, some of Murray’s vocals got lost, having to compete with five other versions of himself and a full house of sound-absorbing-bodies, leading to some punchlines being lost. Sight-lines were a problem with some audience members not being able to see all TV screens and missing some jokes. Given the nature of the show being partially pre-recorded, sometimes jokes didn’t get the space to breathe that they needed. But even this was addressed in the show with an improv sketch where Real Theo™ broke the fourth wall (or dimension) to say that they couldn’t possibly do an improv scene, they were pre-recorded! But none-the-less, screen Theo persisted and an improv scene happened, with one Theo even becoming the timekeeper, calling “Halfway!” and “Find an ending!”
Superposition 2089 takes the principles of any good sketch show and boils them down to a one-man extravaganza with Theo Murray becoming what every absurdist comic wants to be. A well-balanced mix of mime, clown, acapella and sketch, Superposition 2089 is a show not to be missed!
All opinions and thoughts expressed within reviews on Theatre Travels are those of the writer and not of the company at large.