REVIEW: Evgeny Shwarz’s THE DRAGON

Comedy trio Tripod spread their draconian wings

By Ross Larkin

Corruption. Power. Denial. Oppression… Sound amusing? Well, it is.

Toby Schmitz has adapted Evgeny Schwarz’s 1944 satirical play The Dragon into a modern theatrical feast of fiery wit and cleverly apt and poignant dialogue.

From the outset, some skepticism is understandable. Has director, Marion Potts, created a fairy tale? A pantomime? A musical? It’s a little hazy. Soon after, however, it really doesn’t matter.

TheDragon

Melbourne’s ingenious comic trio Tripod (Scott Edgar, Steven Gates and Simon Hall) have not only written the music for the piece, they also perform their catchy soundtrack while portraying the good guy onlookers as well as the contrasting evil three-headed dragon – one hilarious head each.

Sir Lancelot (played with gorgeous charm by Jimi Bani) arrives in a small village to slay said dragon and relieve its inhabitants of the oppression and control inflicted by their so-called ‘almighty’, while rescuing a fair maiden (Nikki Shiels), condemned to wed the manipulative beast.

However, the brainwashed town and its foolishly egocentric and impressionable mayor (the ever-impressive Kym Gyngell), are under the illusion the dragon is to be worshipped as their all-knowing leader, and remain under its spell, oblivious to their repressed existence, and therefore resistant to Lancelot’s quest.

In an Orwellian struggle to revolutionise a totalitarian-wracked culture (coincidently, or more likely deliberately, in line with current Australian politics), Schmitz’s impressively astute and often poetic dialogue, meshed with Tripod’s loveable commentating music and lyrics, is a delightful merry-go-round of tension and fun.

Perched on a very effective revolving set, The Dragon is confronting, thought-provoking, amusing and highly satisfying, thanks to a brilliant script and soundtrack, not to mention a delightfully talented cast.

The Dragon is playing now until July 26, 2013.
Wed to Sat 7.30pm, Sat 2.00pm matinee,
Sun 5.00pm, Tues July 23 at 6.30pm.

The Malthouse Theatre, 113 Sturt Street, Melbourne.

Bookings on (03) 9685 5111 or at www.malthousetheatre.com.au

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