High on a mountain top, in a darkened room, a tv screen flickers. An unseen, slightly creepy voice welcomes a visitor to a repository of cinema preserved on video tape. The visitor is performer Scott Limbrick, and this reliquary is The Last Blockbuster on Earth.
For the younger readers, some years ago, streaming video content would have seemed like science fiction. People were happy to watch low-quality images recorded on temperamental magnetic tape with a “video cassette recorder”. If you didn’t want to watch tv, the evening’s viewing was decided by hiring a “video” from the neighbourhood “video store”.
The Blockbuster chain once had 9000 stores around the world, before the internet trashed its business model. Now, Limbrick (Comedy Central UK, and Melbourne’s Improv Conspiracy) is about to gain an education in the cinematic treasures held by the final outlet.
The venue was also something of a time machine. The audience was skewed towards younger members, and the warm air of the un-airconditioned room was thick with the smell of beer and dope. Amidst this “uni bar” vibe, Limbrick interacted with his recorded host, who introduced his selections from various categories of cinema.
Limbrick put a twist on these by giving us scenes inspired by some notable film. For example, in the “Action” segment, a Rambo-like character shared his unexpected strategies for keeping track of his kill tally, to the delight of the audience. In other genres the intended parody was of lower definition, and accordingly, less memorable.
As it stands, this story feels somewhat underdeveloped. We don’t know why our pilgrim has sought out this mountaintop Blockbuster, or what he gets out of the visit. However, Limbrick showed talent in accents and characterisation. The right director will help him get the most out of his assets, and he’s a performer to watch at a future MICF.
Scott Limbrick: The Last Blockbuster on Earth
TIC Swanston (The Nicholas Building), 37 Swanston Street, Melbourne
Performance: Saturday 3 April 2021 – 7:30pm
Season continues to 18 April 2021
For more information, visit: www.scottlimbrick.com for details.
Image: Scott Limbrick stars in The Last Blockbuster on Earth (supplied)
Review: Jason Whyte