Melbourne Fringe 2016

World War T, Melbourne Fringe 2016

0 Comments 02 October 2016

Words by Brooke Munday

Donald Trump wins. That’s the future World War T invites us to imagine in the sketch comedy satire based around the 2016 US presidential election. A collection of short sketches and quiz show style segments, it’s designed to make fun of Trump and everything he stands for.

Written and Directed by Blair Moro, it claims to be reminiscent of Monty Python, Louis CK, George Carlin, and David Frost.

It isn’t.

The play itself felt disjointed and sloppy. Mismatched scenes were dropped in haphazardly, with no central storyline to maintain the flow. On a number of occasions the actors broke focus to play themselves and talk about the show, a choice that seemed unnecessary and added no value to its broader themes or ideas. These problems would have been better managed if each segment stood on its own merit, but most felt amateurish and unpolished.

The blocking was messy, with little spatial awareness on the actors’ parts and a general lack of consideration towards movement. The performances felt erratic and improvised, which made them distracting to watch and took away from the content of each scene. Ultimately, this gave the sense that the actors hadn’t prepared for their performance space and were trying to cram the show onto the stage instead of working with the available room.

It did have its redeeming moments. One standout was a scene in which Donald Trump and Hilary Clinton were supposed to battle it out in a presidential debate, however Trump’s character took the opportunity to bombard the audience with some of his most famous and controversial quotes. The problem was these gems were few and far between and at least one of them was pulled straight from a Buzzfeed article.

World War T wanted to break down the US presidential election, to delve into Trump and his Vice President pick, to speculate a worst-case scenario for a Trump presidency, and it wanted to pull all this off using satire and comedy. It might have achieved this if the dialogue was snappier and the scenes had a clearer direction; it might have been stronger if the characters didn’t bleed into one another and more attention was paid to voice, posture, and gesture; and it might have felt more cohesive if the scenes had been purposeful and connected. Unfortunately World War T did not feel like a finished product. It felt like the creators simply didn’t have enough time to figure out what they were trying to do or how to do it.

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