‘Titanic: The Movie, The Play’ // Act/React

‘Titanic: The Movie, The Play’ was unsinkable.

All aboard a hilarious romp around the ocean in Act/React’s new epic, ‘Titanic: The Movie, The Play’. Taking passengers on a new and naughty nautical adventure, this 60-minute satirical comedy parodied 80s pop-culture, presented silly puns and gags, and incorporated classic slapstick routines.

Nothing short of perfection, the troupe, who are quickly establishing themselves as a leading Brisbane comedy company, delivered a blockbuster performance that truly embraced the heart of the Anywhere Festival. ‘Titanic: The Movie, The Play’ relives the 1997 Hollywood hit and produces the timeless tale right before your very eyes.  There’s a “wooing” Jack, the iconic bow of the H.M.S Titanic, the narcissistic Billy Zane, and an audience who are immersed even further into the production through their portrayal of the headstrong, love-riddled, Rose. Yes, that’s right, with cue cards and novelty costumes at the ready, no-one was spared from an older Rose’ selective participation. Audience members were chosen at random to re-enact Kate Winslet’s infamous part and join in the story of Titanic.

Nestled under the Goodwill Bridge at the Queensland Maritime Museum, the location was a pertinent choice to relive the action-packed, romantic drama. The cool Autumn-chill was in the air, whipping away at audiences as we sat by the Brisbane river. This four-dimensional aspect couldn’t have come at a more convenient time. While the breeze sent chills down spines, the temperature-drop heightened conversations about icebergs and cold North Atlantic waters. ‘Titanic: The Movie, The Play’ played in an intimate setting and achieved a great deal of appreciation from its passengers.

Directed and written by Gregory Rowbotham and Natalie Bochenski, and also written by Dan Beetson, the trio have collaborated and flipped the Hollywood hit on its own head, with social quips and hilarious jabs. The plot, which is mostly scripted but partly improvised, follows the film to a tee – only it is shorter, has a smaller budget and provides more laughs. The audience was taken through the storyline, with iconic scenes recreated and heckled (like the naked painting moment and making love in a car on a boat part). The script is witty, zany and fresh, poking numerous amounts of fun at the 3-hour-long picture.

Standout moments within the play included our descent into the ocean, near the start of the production. Actors embodied jellyfishes and sea creatures, spraying water through a wooden cut set of submarine windows. Another great moment, towards the end of the show, was when women and children were encouraged to leave their audience chairs and move to two lifeboats situated behind the seats. These clever tricks made the event fully immersive, engaging patrons on their ship of dreams voyage.

Filled with superb improvisers, and character actors, ‘Titanic: The Movie, The Play’ revelled with a creative cast. As lovelorn Jack, Daren King was jovial, wayward and helpful. He navigated the storyline successfully, even producing a standout ‘king of the world’ moment and jumping into the dual role of Lovett. In contrast, Drew Lochrie was dashing, egotistical and pompous as Billy Zane – who cleverly was referred to by the real actor’s name, rather than his character name of Cal Hockley. This quirkily added to Lochrie’s self-absorbed temperament.

Natalie Bochenski proved she is a triple threat (quadruple if you count ‘producing’) with her portrayal of ‘Old’ Rose, in a white glowing wig, satin robe, theatre blacks and sneakers. She skilfully narrated the storyline, pulling “Rose” victims from the crowd and into the play.

Rounding out the rest of the troupe, Elizabeth Best was socialite Molly Brown, Marselan Wignall was architect Thomas Andrews and Scott Driscoll was The Captain, all of whom ably assisted the action. The ensemble including Tom Dunstan, Amy Driscoll, Scott Driscoll and Ellie Hardisty also further supported the stellar scenes within the script.

‘Titanic: The Movie, The Play’ was a real treat at this year’s Anywhere Festival. Tis the sea-son to catch the play as it docks the shores of Brisbane and it can’t be recommended enough. Audience members are encouraged to pack their woollies, grab their ticket and take a trip to South Bank – even if it’s just to get a glimpse at the great museum and its maritime surroundings. God himself could not sink Act/React.

‘Titanic: The Movie, The Play’ sets sail at the Queensland Maritime Museum until Sunday, 26 May 2019. For tickets, visit https://anywhere.is/listings/titanic/.

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