Reviews/Comedy/Fringe World Festival/Musical Theatre

Bradbury farce skates on thin ice

21 January 2023

For this very Fringy show, you’ll need to suspend your disbelief in a big way – and it won’t be what you expect, writes Erin Hutchinson.

Bradbury the Musical, George Glass • 
The Chalet, Perth Cultural Centre, 20 January 2023 • 

George Glass, a funk-rock comedy group from Adelaide, have a weird and wacky approach to Steven Bradbury and his unexpected, most ridiculously wonderful win in the 2002 Winter Olympics. 

Who could forget that amazing crash at the last corner and watching green and gold coast over the finish line in first place? Perfect material for a musical, right?  

Now, imagine not the race, but the minutes leading up to it: What was going through Bradbury’s mind?  Did he really give it a good old underdog go, or was he terribly intimidated and feeling like the most unqualified candidate? Could he have been having a crazy mental breakdown?  

With a bit of Mighty Boosh-esque kookiness, a big lashing of juvenile (but still amusing at times) sex and bodily function jokes, George Glass give us their version of the events unfolding in Bradbury’s brain … and it doesn’t make any sense at all.  

Everyone is leaning
into the completely
absurd silliness
of the show.

A quirky intro shows the birth of baby Bradbury (complete with infant-sized skates), then with a swift jump onto instruments and change of characters, the 10-minute countdown to the famous race is on. Adult Bradbury (Pud Hamilton) prays to the skater gods for assistance, and we enter the world of his mind.  

Encouraging Bradbury and his soul patch are skaters Tony Hawks (played by Chris Nenov) and Tonya Harding (Nic Conway), and they’ve got a bit of a Drop Dead Fred vibe going on, as they and a non-verbal elephant(toy)-in-the-room wind Bradbury up. When we think there could be “nothing harder than a Harding” the eight-minute call is announced, and the next imaginary situation takes place.  

There are some fun gags, such as a Russian trainer offering a “blow” job and Lance Armstrong getting involved in the action, and an ongoing running joke with a yellow Buick helps provide some breaks for the performers.  

Believe me when I say it gets weirder, though. Luckily by this point, Conway, Hamilton and Nenov have won the audience over and everyone is leaning into the completely absurd silliness of the show. Amused eye-rolls and grossed-out giggles ripple through the audience. The race does eventually take place – though I still don’t know what the elephant in the room is supposed to be.  

Bradbury the Musical has a way to go. It’s more a comedy with songs than a musical; the structure and script need tightening; and the sound balance isn’t great. But this is Fringe and with a few drinks you should have a laugh.  

Bradbury the Musical is at The Chalet at Perth Cultural Centre until 29 January 2023. 

Pictured top: Chris Nenov, Pud Hamilton and Nic Conway in ‘Bradbury the Musical’. Photo supplied

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Author —
Erin Hutchinson

Erin Hutchinson is an actor, singer, theatre maker and teacher who is passionate about local arts. Whilst she wishes she could still be a ninja on the monkey bars, she’s content to enjoy a turn on the swings… easier to still hold a glass of wine.

Past Articles

  • Lyrical litter bring new purr-spective

    WAAPA’s graduating class shine in a poetic production of Cats, even if the feline stories don’t quite thread together, writes Erin Hutchinson. 

  • Don’t dream it – see it!

    The cast is incredible, the designs divine and the joys are endless. Erin Hutchinson urges you all to celebrate Rocky Horror’s big birthday and do the time warp again.

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