There are not many instances where you can see a play come apart at the seams. Unfortunately due to technical errors, Fleur and Alexandra are Out of This World managed to do just that, which highlighted the limits of pre-recorded gags and what happens when these fail. Had this shown not collapsed, it would have been very impressive – as it was, most of the audience laughs came from sympathising with the actors breaking character and the 4th wall to explain what went wrong. Still, there are definitely elements here to have a promising performance, and hopefully it was just a bad night.
Because having a show collapse around you is never a fun experience.
It is important to start with the positives of the performance, because they were there. The overall setup of the show was impressive enough, with zany costumes and a cool series of amusing props. The puppets were well designed, and they were (before the disasters) handled quite well. Clearly a lot of thought and attention to detail was put into the play.
The writing (when it was followed) was quite good as well. There were numerous geeky references, and clever quips throughout the whole show. There were plenty of jokes, especially early on, which made the audience laugh, and the whole feel of a silly, childish play had a lot going for it. These little details would have made it all work very well had it been followed through to its full potential.
Unfortunately, the problem began in their tech world. Something went awry with their sound engineer, and the automated responses began to lag significantly behind the spoken words. Whatever caused this issue, it started a chain reaction, where the two actors lost their confidence and became visibly unsettled at times. This led to lines being forgotten, and entire sections of the show were possibly jettisoned in a panic.
All of these factors fed into each other, creating a 15 – 20 minute collapse into ad-libbed lines weaving in and out of pre-recorded ones. Having successful ad lib can be hard with a regular performance and top of the range performers, but with pre-recorded responses and not much room to manoeuvre, the show sank from a fun night out into a school play-esque feel.
It was a shame the night went so poorly, because had it gone smoothly, the play would have been very well done. Hopefully they are not disheartened by their woes, and fix up their tech issues and confidence, because there are good, solid laughs to be had here. Tonight was a testimony to the fact that when tech fails, it can have a domino effect on a show.
Fleur and Alexandra are Out of This World is on at 7pm at the Butterfly Club until 23 September 2018 as part of Melbourne Fringe. Tickets are available from the Butterfly Club website and box office.