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Review: Watson: Once Were Planets | Melbourne International Comedy Festival

Patrick O’Duffy writes…

Previously on Space Force, Commander Bec Rogers was deep in battle with the terrible Space Brain! Although armed with a blaster pistol and zero-gravity kung fu skills, the monster’s telekinetic powers were too much for her, until –

Wait, sorry, hang on. Apparently this is not Space Force after all. Instead it is Earth’s first manned mission to Pluto, and after nine years in space astronauts Tegan Higginbotham and Adam McKenzie are just very bored and playing very silly games.

Silly and awesome. Just like the show.

Comedy duo Watson, aided by a team of ninja puppeteers, present a giddy theatrical SF story that delivers non-stop laughs.  When they crash-land on Pluto, the stakes raise and the gags flow even faster. Will an obsession with Apollo 13 and film title OCD be enough to help Adam and Tegan save Earth from destruction? What is the terrible secret of why Watson were sent into space in the first place? Why do all the guest stars have udders? Does Dolly Doctor have the answers this time?

This is a silly, joyous sci-fi romp that is told via great, imaginative use of sound, lightning, puppetry and props. Also via gags. So many gags. On a technical level the show is wonderful (the use of puppetry for zero-G effects stand out in particular), but the stagecraft exists to carry Adam and Tegan’s effortlessly ridiculous jokes and the wonderfully nonsensical story. Littered with asides, meta-textual jokes and chances for the audience to get in on the act, Once Were Planets is energetic and hilarious from start to finish. Don’t miss it.

Watson: Once Were Planets is on at the Trades Hall, 9:30pm Tues – Sat, 8:30pm Sun, until April 21st.

You can visit Patrick O’Duffy’s website or follow him on twitter: @patrickoduffy.

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