The Umbilical Brothers Brisbane Review @ QPAC

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The Umbilical Brothers The Umbilical Brothers Image © Gavin D Andrew

A few hiccups and technical difficulties were not nearly enough to keep the iconic Umbilical Brothers from delivering a hilarious and escapist show at Queensland Performing Arts Centre (27 April).

The pair have performed in 40 countries and their brand of silly, fun, physical humour has won them awards around the world. New show 'The Distraction' takes their skills to a new level, as Shane Dundas and David Collins utilise the boundless possibilities of technology to entertain their adoring fans.

Armed with green screens, cameras and decades' worth of genius comic timing and effortless humour, Shane and David are brilliant to watch. The show is genuinely an hour and fifteen minutes of pure escapism – a ticket to a world where, as an adult, you're allowed to laugh at the silly things you found funny as a kid without anyone judging you. Whether it's a silly noise, a clever pun or a toy baby hurtling through space, the Umbies have it in spades here. The world isn’t in a very good place at the moment, and the importance of the arts and acts such as The Umbilical Brothers is clear as day. Relief in any form from darkness and negativity is paramount to healing. We’re lucky to have them.

It's hard to precisely define 'The Distraction'. It's essentially two big kids, on a stage, playing with green screens, but there's an element of precision and well thought-out bits and skits. On occasion, technology fails them on this night – but their happy-go-lucky demeanour means it all feels part of the act. Talented tech guy Doug Bayne does an excellent job pressing buttons and making things happen behind-the-screens (while on stage). While one or two things go amiss, this can be forgiven as it's a tech-heavy show (bloody technology!) and also the first iteration of it outside of a festival setting. Besides, the pair's ability to riff off-the-cuff when things go awry is so convincing and entertaining it may as well have been planned from day one.

There's plenty of brilliant and non-threatening audience interaction too. If you're someone who has a fear of being put on the spot during a comedy show, don't fret – they'll only make your head explode. . . Digitally.

'The Distraction' is unlike anything The Umbilical Brothers have done before. It sees them discovering a new and exciting way to deliver a live show, and I can only for a second imagine the infinite possibilities and countless realms Shane and David (with the help of the marvellous Doug) could explore from this point forward.

Godspeed, gentlemen.

★★★★☆ 1/2.

’The Distraction' plays Queensland Performing Arts Centre until 2 May, State Theatre Centre WA 14-16 May, and Civic Theatre (Wagga) 11 June.



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