The silly season has well and truly landed at the Basement Theatre courtesy of this year's Christmas event, "A Frickin Dangerous Space-mas".
Written by sketch trio Frickin Dangerous Bro – James Roque, Pax Assadi and Jamaine Ross – the interstellar adventure follows the six-person crew of the International Space Station, where the topic of who will replace the incompetent captain Chip is second-fiddle to what everyone's got for Secret Santa.
The play is a first from the trio, and the teething troubles of adjusting to the new format are clear. There is not really a plot, more a very loose idea that merely guides things from one gag to the next. It wouldn't matter if FDB had written an entirely comic play, but the office politics and family issues they slotted in stand out as an afterthought.
Where the trio excel is being funny and what "Space-mas" lacks in plot it makes up for in laughs. It was undoubtedly one of the funniest Basement Christmas shows I've seen – and I've seen a few – with every scene packed with enough quips, puns and references that there is rarely a quiet moment from the audience.
FDB's glorious goofiness is sold by a committed cast that comes on stage guns blazing. Marianne Infante grounds the madness with straight-woman space nerd Sampaugita, a necessary foil when faced with the deadpan eccentricity that comes from David Correos' Calvin.
But it's Sam Snedden and Carrie Green who together steal the show thanks to their dual roles – Snedden as the clueless Chip and aspiring Russian DJ Vlad, Green as Kiwi-Swede Hans and Aussie overachiever Lindsay.
The script demands the actors switch frequently between their characters; Snedden and Green make it look easy, each delivering two polar-opposite characters that are uproariously hilarious for entirely different reasons. I'd pay good money just to hear Snedden's Vlad lament for his "DJ Queen" one more time.
A nightly guest actor supports the main cast. The long-standing Basement Christmas tradition has felt flat and forced in recent years, but FDB ensure the role (played on the opening night by a wonderfully befuddled Donna Brookbanks) is important to the play without overshadowing the scripted roles. Of the Christmas shows I've seen, they've integrated this requirement the best.
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Gags like the confused guest actor are half the reason why these Basement shows have become such a holiday tradition. Putting the plot aside, the writers and cast have created a joyful hilarity that will have you laughing into the new year. Space-mas is pure silly, light-hearted fun that demands you bring your friends, your family and simply embrace the madness.
What: A Frickin Dangerous Space-Mas
Where & when: Basement Theatre until Friday, December 20
Reviewer: Ethan Sills