I’m a fan of Brendan Fraser. There, I said it. The man is a prolific star of adaptations. I’m not blind to the… varied… level of quality in his films, I didn’t even get through Looney Toons: Back in Action, but I will defend the quality of The Mummy, Monkeybone, Bedazzled and, yes, even George of the Jungle. Comparing any of those with Furry Vengeance is just plain unfair. Especially with Inkheart on the table. Yeesh.
Innes Lloyd new show dives into the similarly varied nature of the many adaptations, particularly to film, of Jules Verne’s classic novel Journey to the Centre of the Earth. It’s a show which mixes the source text with improvisation, tangents and more pop culture references than you can shake a duck puppet at. More than anything, if you’re not up on Simpsons quotes from the season 3 – 10 era, you might find yourself a little perplexed.
The show is an interesting mix of, and commentary on, the various changes made to the story in the name of ‘adaptation’, while also introducing their own change or two. Innes Lloyd trace some of the common elements to have been kept from the original novel, discarded altogether, or added to multiple iterations. I was also introduced to the funky concept album adaptation, no doubt attempting to recapture the glory of what Jeff Waynes did for H.G. Wells’ War of the Worlds.
Overall, the show really feels like a recreation of a very fun improv show and, admittedly, some of the jokes fall a little flat because of that, but where Innes Lloyd really shine are in the moments of genuine improv, where lines are dropped or they move to the wrong section of the show, or when they riff on something that the audience has responded well to. It’s at these moments that the pair’s frenetic energy comes to the fore and the show comes alive.
There’s an unrelenting pace to Innes Lloyd’s Journey to the Centre of the Earth due to the sheer depth of the material being covered, and the duo throw themselves into it without hesitation, only the occasional pause for laughter. Those who can keep up on the journey will find themselves grandly rewarded.
Journey to the Centre of the Earth is on at 7 pm at the Butterfly Club until 16 April as part of the Melbourne International Comedy Festival. It’s an all ages show, and tickets are available online and at the door.