Have you ever wanted to see a show that is about some of the weirdest housemates you can possibly see? Do you wish to be blown away by bedazzling music about bizarre characters that seem to be surreal Neo-Dadaist memes rather than reflections of real life? Then you should definitely check out The Worst Little Warehouse in London, a show with all this and more.
Music and comedy are definitely a winning combination. If you feel the jokes are flat, you can get behind the catchy tunes; alternatively, if you dislike the tunes, you can appreciate the humour. Fortunately the jokes and the humour in The Worst Little Warehouse in London worked out generally fine, and the music had the audience laughing and bopping away at the same time.
First onto the tunes – solid plus here. There was a healthy mix of spoof covers: recognisable musical tunes lampooned in the glorious fashion of a cabaret performance. The audience were happily bobbing away to these, and the original songs they had, which were all light hearted and drew on a variety of different show tune styles, ensured that it was kept interesting.
Secondly, props must go to the props team, and the very cool transitions into the different characters. With the two performers, Lala Barlow and Robbie Smith, it would seem unlikely that they could carry off a performance mimicking a wide variety of different accents and characters convincingly, but they did. Switching between the accents was also done spectacularly, especially after singing (which was also strong). They managed to cover up “wobbly” bits (that were potentially improvised), and really carried the day with the energy.
The show itself was smooth. Barring one or two very minor instances, there were no major issues or awkward pauses waiting for tech to work. The different characters felt very natural and everyone in the audience found them hilarious, which worked well as the dialogue was effortless – especially in the final moment when there were rapid character changes in what can only be described as one of the best multi-character changes on stage choreography for a smaller performance.
The only real problem with the show was almost that it was too smooth. There was no moment of rest, and no natural pauses to figure out what was happening. Each skit moved so rapidly into the other that it almost seemed like the punchlines were blended into the new joke, giving an almost whiplash feeling. This was not too terrible, but it did distract somewhat initially, until the pace could be figured out. There were also some missed lines and one or two times the performers stepped out of character to address audience reactions (one joke went down very poorly and there was an immediate retraction – but handled well), but overall these were not too distracting or detrimental to the show.
Overall, a fun way to start a comedy festival. Although there is very little room to breathe in The Worst Little Warehouse in London, the songs are catchy, the characters are thoroughly amusing (despite the stereotypes), and the jokes are funny. Despite there being first night tweaking issues, this is definitely worth checking out if you enjoy fun musicals that lampoon house sharing adventures, and the weird people you meet in London generally.
The Worst Little Warehouse In London is on at 7pm at the Butterfly Club until 31 March as part of the 2019 Melbourne International Comedy Festival. Tickets are available via the MICF website.