Fans of both the movie ‘Die Hard’ and theatre company Act/React are in for a treat with their latest offering ‘Die Hard: The Movie, The Play’ now playing, just in time for Christmas.
If you’ve ever wanted to act like John McClane, well then come out to the Brisbane Powerhouse, we’ll get together and have a few laughs.
The show follows the format of previous efforts that took on the Keanu Reeves-led “bomb on a bus” movie ‘Speed’ and the king of the blockbuster world ‘Titanic’. Big, iconic and beloved classics produced for millions of dollars, mounted here on a shoe-string budget, performed by improv actors with the roped-in help of audience members.
Their take on ‘Die Hard’ dials a few things back, now only one ticket buyer is plucked out to play the lead, New York cop John McClane, rather than the rotating roster used for Rose in ‘Titanic’. There is no bus or lifeboat to climb aboard either. We’re mostly static (perhaps appropriately) during a play based on a movie that took place over one night in one building. Still, the show taking over the Turbine Platform at the Brisbane Powerhouse makes use of neighbouring catwalks and balconies. In fact the action taking place can be heard throughout the lobby to passersby serving as a great advertisement for the show.
Some of the best improv actors in the country are writing and performing in this play.
Interestingly, established players like Wade Robinson, Scott Driscoll, Dan Beeston (director/writer) and Natalie Bochenski (co-writer) provide a lot of scaffolding here. This generosity of spirit helps the show enormously as they encourage the crowd, let other performers go for broke, and coach their lead John McClane through the film’s narrative.
Like improv, the best moments come out of something unexpected, so the better crowd, the more the show reaches new heights. These veteran improv artists put in the work to make this happen.
That said, two performers who stood out, one (Marselan Wignall) taking on Hans Gruber (and trying to live up the late great Alan Rickman) and another (Ellen Hardisty) kitted out in a green screen leotard giving personality to a raft of stand-in special effects. The energy really lifted too when the FBI (Daren King and Simon Chugg) made an appearance.
There are lots of neat references and evolutions from what was present in the original film. Bruce Willis, for example, constantly talked to himself in the original, speaking out loud his inner monologue to give insight into his character and display his personality and wits. Appropriately here, his inner thoughts become a voiceover narrator guiding the newly-minted John McClane with stage directions, fight choreography and line delivery. Other jokes note how time has marched on since 1988 and how beloved ‘Die Hard’ has become.
Quite simply, Act/React has done it again.