Sammy J: 1999
This article is from 2009.
Swapping puppets for pubescence
Melbourne’s smutty answer to Andrew Lloyd Webber returns with a tongue-in-cheek one-man musical set in the run-up to the millennium. With explicit references to the Y2K bug, Tamagotchis and Toy Story 2, he’s swapped puppeteer partner Heath McIvor (with whom he’s also appearing in Sammy J and the Forest of Dreams) with nostalgia for the relatively recent past. Playing his younger, geeky, schoolboy self, Sammy J presents an embellished account (one would hope) of how he came to feature on a late-90s ‘talent’ show, with the action flitting between the classroom and his bedroom.
Fraught with teen angst, Sammy J’s frenetic performance captures the audience’s attention but, with his oversized uniform and naturally rakish physique, is too convincing for comfort. With mimed clichés (such as the school bully being looked up to as implausibly tall) and the humour never transcending those classroom lows, it is too easy to believe that the whole show is being staged by an actual – admittedly talented – teenager. And the songs, again firmly rooted in pubescence and straight out of the Disney school of musical storytelling, may begin to grate.
Underbelly, 0844 545 8252, until 30 Aug, 6pm, £9–£12 (£7.50–£11).