By Laura Clark
When you hear that a local production of a parody musical has been on at the Adelaide Fringe Festival, you probably don’t stir in your seat. When you hear that it’s titled Wolf Creek: The Musical, the chances are you will either fall off aforementioned seat laughing, or sit up straight and request that no one make you see this thing. Ever.
At least, according to cast member Bridget Fahey, that’s pretty much the response they got when people heard about the play they did for this year’s Fringe.
Written by Raw Comedy winner Demi Lardner and James McCann, the show is exactly what the title promises: Australian outback and murder with a jolly soundtrack and a great sense of humour to boot. The play retells the story of the 2005 Aussie horror film in the ever-popular medium of musical comedy in the space of a Fringe hour (50 minutes for anyone who’s counting).
Unfortunately I did not hear about the play until it was too late, but when I heard about it I sat down with Bridget to hear much more about it. Bridget is in her final year of the Writing and Creative Communication degree and has been involved in the Fringe for the past four years. She also happens to be a housemate of the writers and friends with the other members of the cast.
The show had an unusually long development time for a Fringe show, beginning mid-last year, with collaborated rewrites right up until the opening night. The show stars Kel Balnaves, Angus Hodge, Chris Knight, Bridget Fahey and Demi Larnder, with music by James McCann. The process of staging the performances was made rather more complicated as most of the cast was involved in at least one other Fringe show.
They also had the unusual honour of meeting the creator of the work they were parodying. Through a chance meeting at Supernova, director Greg McLean not only heard about the project from one of the cast members but ended up attending a preview show with his assistant. Obviously, given that the show went ahead for its full 15-show run, it met with his approval. As Bridget describes, it’s a ‘very silly take on a very bleak film’. So what’s not to love?
In even better news, the show has been a resounding success with a number of sold-out shows and rave reviews. One night there were so many people wanting to see a show that they did a second performance after the night’s first one finished. The icing on the cake is winning the BANKSA award for Best Comedy: Emerging.
I asked Bridget what they plan to do next and she wasn’t able to confirm anything. However, they are hoping to take their show to the Melbourne Fringe and Sydney, and from there, who knows? Perhaps a tour?
Unfortunately, if that goes ahead they may have to start actually paying royalties to the copyright owners. But really, you must be doing rather well if the owners of a creative property think a parody will make them some money.