Get ready to go on an educational adventure that’s part the Magic School Bus and part Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory with comedy trio the Pool Boys (Chris Heaslip, Davey Reynolds and Stuart Owen). Safari Sam, “8 year old” Wally, and his stick in the mud teacher, sing, dance, rap and sonnet their way through their magical excursion.
If you’re not usually a musical fan, don’t let this put you off seeing Fact Safari! From the first song and dance skit about evolution the audience was hooked. Starting with the most epic rock, paper, scissors battle of all time and God’s trump card move that beats them all, the audience is in for a treat. Delightfully silly and light-hearted, the show also has some more adult, serious moments – but usually just to mock them.
Vault Theatre’s small, intimate setting worked brilliantly for the show, with the trio jumping and dancing through the whole room and really making the audience feel involved in their magical adventure. The little audience participation they encouraged and little Wally coming to sit amongst ‘the class’ drew the audience into feeling part of the class and immersed in the show. The lux setting made the theatrical magic that much more believable, assisted by little Wally’s sarcastic commentary on whatever their current scene’s setting was supposed to be.
Basic costumes added a lot to the characters, especially ‘little Wally’ and Safari Sam with his multi-purpose goggles. The trio used props to try to educate us on various topics, the operative word being ‘try’ and using ‘educate’ loosely. Giving us the motivation to pick up the recorder again after the only recorder lesson ever worth remembering, the Pool Boys were consistently unexpected in how they used boring, even unpleasant school memories to make sweet, sweet comedy.
The show was polished and perfected to the second without ever feeling stale and rehearsed. If you can get tickets, put Fact Safari! on your list of shows not to miss!
Fact Safari! is on at 9pm at the Vault Theatre until 21 April as part of the Melbourne International Comedy Festival. Tickets, show details and accessibility information can be found via the MICF website.