Putting aside 2006-2016, the comedic partnership between Colin (“Col”) Lane and Frank Woodley stretches back to 1986. Their show title Lano & Woodley in Lano & Woodley hints at the professional-level stupidity that defines their offerings.
This new show melds routines from their back-catalogue and fresh material. For the uninitiated, Lano and Woodley’s shows have two consistent features. The first is a commitment to physical comedy. The second is that, whilst Col will have grand plans for a show, he will be (as the MICF guide says) “shitted up the wall by Frank” thanks to Woodley’s improvisational efforts.
We began with Lano and Woodley having an extended argument over who would open the show. Delaying the entertainment for an audience starved of it by lockdown seemed quite “tone-deaf”, and prompted a punter to heckle “Get on with it!”. Fortunately, this was the only misjudgement in a snappy show that regularly extracted huge laughs from the audience.
It probably won’t make much sense to try and describe the show’s silliness. However, highlights were a choreographed dance routine explaining where little tables come from, and a competitive hit of tennis involving audience participation.
The pair can make conflict out of any triviality, such as a table’s wobbly leg, an untidy cable on stage, or whether “The Antarctic” is the same as Antarctica. Woodley was able to work in some of his songs, including an extremely novel take on Hallelujah.
Perhaps showing the benefit of his time in Gilbert and Sullivan productions during L&W’s break, Lane also has a go at singing. The routine highlighted the difference between the pair’s artistic visions, as well as Lane’s anger management issues, which so often provide punchlines.
Lano and Woodley met at high school, and after all these years performing, are still bloody idiots. They’ve won a bunch of awards over their time, including the “People’s Choice Award” at MICF 2018. Their audience ranged from children to seniors, and this family-friendly routine regularly scored big laughs, as well as loud applause at the end.
The title Lano & Woodley in Lano & Woodley isn’t so clever, but the show’s construction was, and this is a safe bet for a good night out.
Lano and Woodley in Lano & Woodley
Playhouse – Arts Centre Melbourne, 100 St Kilda Road, Melbourne
Performance: Wednesday 31 March 2021 – 7:30pm
Season continues to 4 April 2021
Information and Bookings: www.comedyfestival.com.au
Image: Colin Lane and Frank Woodley star in Lano and Woodley in Lano & Woodley
Review: Jason Whyte