Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Review: Monster of the Deep 3D


By Claudia O’Doherty.

I know that these days everyone’s waking up to the end-of-the-world scenarios our millennia-long People Party has resulted in, but we often forget that there were doomsayers well before Al Gore borrowed the neighbour’s video camera and made a documentary about it. Why, even the 1973 film Soylent Green has people babbling about something called “the greenhouse effect” and that, as we all know, was the definitive film about surviving the massive mess we’ve made (just eat poor people: problem solved).

The 1970s were full of these awesome ideas for fixing the future. Logan’s Run suggested that we kill off anyone over 30 (that seemed a really neat idea to me until a few years ago). Planet of the Apes suggested that we just chill until the monkeys take over for us. The Omega Man suggested that we use Charlton Heston’s super-blood to develop a cure for unstoppable plagues. Considering that Heston starred in three of these four movies, I’m guessing that he was really trying to be a part of the solution in whatever limited capacity he had.

It may come as a shock to some readers but not all techno-utopias work out as planned. Pig Island’s Claudia O’Doherty here serves up a timely reminder of the dangers that swim around our pipe-dream solutions to the world’s problems like a shoal of glittering and fancy fish (fish of danger).
O’Doherty is the last survivor of an ill-fated international project to build a submarine colony known as Aquaplex. Constructed in 1978, the recent destruction of the colony smells more fishy than a week-old serve of tuna mornay but the lone remnant of that civilisation is determined to give a true and accurate account of the distant world that was her home since birth.

With the assistance of countless props and visual aids O’Doherty guides us through the decades of undersea ridiculousness that made her what she is today. It’s often hilarious stuff and she’s either very erudite and astute or else very good at faking it. The show is packed like a sardine can with bits that will slowly come back to you in days to come, like the festival of Emotionas, a verbatim theatre retelling of the Colossal Squid tragedy and the touching story of O’Doherty’s parents’ meet cute. The real killer set-piece comes right at the end and unexpectedly adds a new significance to the 3D of the title. This is easily the funniest thing I’ve seen in the Fringe so far and despite the absence of Charlton Heston shouldn’t fail to leave you feeling slightly better about a future which will never be.

At the Lithuanian Club until Oct 10.