Monday 10 August 2009

Geek Theatre Review - Bane

As a host of Geek Syndicate, I’m always on the lookout for geek stuff and there is a plethora of it on TV, in comics, books and the movies. As an actor I have recently been thinking about the perceived lack of it on stage. Earlier this year, a Geek Syndicate listener wrote a sketch for me, that was set aboard the International Space Station and this was later performed. So it was with a great deal of curiosity that I thought that I could use my limited time at this year’s Edinburgh Fringe festival to investigate what existed of Geek Culture on stage.

Perusing the fringe guide the first thing that my eyes fell on was Bane. Here’s the blurb –

“Bruce Bane is a hired hand that gets the job done. Join Bane as he works his way through the city in this dark comedic tale of revenge. One-man film noir parody with live music.”

My first thought was that the name was disturbingly familiar to Bruce Banner, alter ego of the Incredible Hulk. My second thought was I like film noir. My third was this could be really bad.

So armed with my Geek Syndicate press pass, a pen and a paper I went to check it out.
It starts with a guitarist playing a bluesy Latino theme tune, which turns into a suspenseful strum, as we are party to an offstage panicked phone call. Eventually we see the character making the call. He is scared and packing, obviously intending to get out of town. Another, invisible character enters, killing him. The actor wheels round makes a machine gun sound and shouts “Bane”. The movie has begun.

Bane is a nasty piece of work, who shoots first and isn’t even bothered about the questions. For the next hour, the writer performer Joe Bone single handedly and without props takes you through a week in the life of Bruce Bane. He also plays all the other characters, Alonso the Italian Chef, Mavis the receptionist, Victor Necropolis, the mad scientist and more; each character clearly defined and represented.

This is a brilliant story; it has everything you want from a noir production, thrills, spills, twists in the plot and a brilliant villain with a unique method of killing his victims. To my surprise, the narrative held together very well, with plot elements weaving in and of the story appropriately.
Wonderfully Bone manages to incorporate a lot of action into this show. Not only are the fight scenes graphic, fun and well executed but he even pulls of a pretty good car chase.

The writer/performer obviously has his geek credentials well established as I saw references to Leon, Blues Brothers, Batman, Back to the Future and Kill Bill amongst others.

This was a well spent hour, funny and dramatic by turns. If you should get the chance to see Bane by Whiteface Productions, then do. Somehow, one man, a bare stage and a guitarist made the most wonderful cinematic theatre I’ve seen and the best thing is that in good cinema tradition, they’ve left it open for a sequel.

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