Take a Wild West theme, a flurry of puns and a scheming mayor with a striking resemblance to SULC president Alex Dore, and you have Floorless, the latest offering from Architecture Revue.
The entire show brimmed with eccentricity and an enthusiasm for making fun of themselves, exemplified by Ben Spinetti and Gordon Leibowitz’ terrifyingly long and agile tongues, which enlivened characters as diverse as the voyeuristic nerd and a skin-crawling fortune-teller. Just as flexible were an awesome band who switched between twanging on banjos and rocking out on the electric guitar and riffed on Star Wars, the Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter in turn. The absolute showstealer was Niccolo Vivarelli as the Cactus. His obvious passion for the absurd carried an (occasionally strained) overarching plot home, and his toothpick-encrusted costume has finally made the onesie fad worthwhile.
That’s not to say that Floorless was completely so. While some of the individual sketches were absolute crackers (I had no clue how funny a premature ejaculation joke could be when set IN SPACE), one incomprehensible pre-recorded segment seemed like a cast in-joke. More worryingly, though Hannah Morris’ drunk commentary was notably absent, the show continued another USU tradition of insensitivity with some sketches reliant on gypsy, Italian-American and amputee stereotypes. Even more baffling was the presiding Confederate flag, despite the fact that the show was set on the Western frontier. These missteps were only occasional, and a very small part of the show; but they were enough to set the audience on edge for what else might be lurking in the wings.
Floorless sometimes felt like a young revue that’s still deciding whether it belongs with the artistes at the Seymour Centre or down with the boys at Manning. That said, the cast is full of gems, the sketches are taut and polished, and there’s substantially less chance of getting a beer spilled on you than at Engo Revue. Would definitely recommend.