There’s huge variety on offer in a festival like MICF, and risking the unfamiliar can mean a big payoff. Happily, various discount ticket schemes make it easy and cheap to check out something new. I punted on Manbo – a one-man masterclass in physical comedy by Sam Dugmore.
Dugmore had a handy 2021; a weekly Adelaide Fringe “Best Comedy” award was followed by “Best Newcomer” at the Sydney Comedy Festival. His MICF show sees the titular hero, “the best combat soldier ever”, struggling with civilian life. Only Manbo’s little dog Fluffy seems to bring him any comfort.
With plenty of cartoonish violence, the show – impishly – draws heavily on Sly Stallone’s Rambo, with elements of Chuck Norris and other 80s action films. Whilst much of the story could be predictable, this doesn’t matter when the journey is so amusing.
As reliably as an M16, Dugmore blasted through a series of quick costume changes in playing a variety of characters, from his former commanding officer “The Colonel”, to evil Russians.
Some pleasingly inventive work with props and costumes assisted in telling the tale. Manbo also found laughs in contributions by audience members pressed into participating.
Add in an 80s rock soundtrack with Dugmore’s capable singing, genre parody, and goofy macho moments, and the audience regularly had good laughs.
Tighten your headband – Manbo is a well-performed show that will butch-up your MICF recon mission. A bar near the Aphrodite room further encourages a visit to the Greek Centre for another tour of duty in this last week of MICF 2022.
Sam Dugmore: Manbo
Greek Centre (Aphrodite Room), 168 Lonsdale Street, Melbourne
Performance: Sunday 17th April 2022 – 8:30pm
Season continues to 24 April 2022
Information and Bookings: www.comedyfestival.com.au
Image: Sam Dugmore presents Manbo (supplied)
Review: Jason Whyte