While still a young man, Russell McGilton embarked on an extended trip around the world. Accidents Are Prohibited On This Road documents this part of his life as a series of outrageous incidents he found himself in.
As Russell started out with sequence of travel photos it could have been assumed that this slide show would be the basis for the show, but this device soon took a back seat to Russell weaving his storytelling magic for us. Aside from the odd montage of happy snaps, the remainder of show involved Russell letting his words transport us to the numerous crazy situations he encountered. There were some moments of poignancy that gave the show light and shade. He littered the show with a number of rather crude jokes that, while vaguely relevant to the story at hand, were quite confronting and got laughs/groans from their shock value.
Russell was extremely animated in his delivery; putting on all manner of accents and wide eyed gesturing to bring these wild “fish out of water” tales to life. His comic timing was spot on and his storytelling was engaging. After a run earlier in the year and being under the watchful eye of two Dramaturges, this was a highly polished piece of theatre.
His often cartoonish portrayals of the colourful characters he encountered could have easily become racial stereotypes but he was able to temper this with a sense of naivety. Observational humour examining the alien attitudes of the locals may have been the focus of the show but the parallel thread of youthful folly allowed him to often become the butt of the joke.
The staging of this performance was deceptively sparse with basically Russell alone on stage telling his tales with the now requisite computer and projector but there were other touches. Subtle lighting changes aided in setting the mood and scene, while audio cues provided witty punchlines and additional atmosphere.
A great storytelling show that had everyone fascinated and delighted at his adventures.
By EMMA WOODALL
Posted on September 29th, 2010
Ah the Melbourne Fringe Festival. But what is it about an act that makes it truly worthy of this unique festival of the arts? Is it eclectic and unusual performance? Is it quirky and offbeat comedy? Or is it the well-timed use of sound, image and movement to create a show that is, well, just a little left of centre?
If this is true, then Russell McGilton has the makings of a true Fringe Dweller. McGilton is an Australian comedian/writer/public speaker who has previously performed at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival, The Edinburgh Festival, and previous Melbourne Fringe Festivals. He brings his most recent live show Accidents are Prohibited on this Road to Cabaret Voltaire this Fringe Festival season, and it’s pretty bloody funny.
Russell spins a web mired with tales of travel in his youth. His stories span from taking naughty drugs in Amsterdam, to attending meditation camps where he was forbidden to speak or, err, engage in any sexual misconduct. He recounts his travels to Kenya, where he has unfortunate run-ins with all kinds of large wildlife, including rhinoceroses and his hotel cleaning lady. His stories and facial expressions are comical, and the show is well-scripted and constructed. McGilton has photos of his trip and lessons that he learnt flashing up on a screen to the side of stage – his dramatic lighting effects and splashes of music enhance the routine, and his accents are pretty funny, if not always consistent.
His performance can only be bolstered and enhanced by a larger crowd, so do yourself and him a favour and go and see it.