The Astonishing Comet Boombox

MFF23-Ruby-Duncan-stars-in-The-Astonishing-Comet-BoomboxThe promo says this comedy ‘takes an unexpected turn.’ Unfortunately, it wasn’t a satisfying turn.

In this comedic narrative, Retro (Ruby Duncan) becomes an influencer based on the strength of her relationship with the ever-evolving AI-powered boombox, Comet.

The core narrative of the show was great. The script was innovative and interesting. Ruby gave an entertaining performance and delivered her jokes on cue.

But this show ticked me off. It finished over half an hour late. During a festival where punters are often seeing multiple shows a night, this is both unprofessional and disrespectful. But I have three other reasons the late finish annoyed me.

First, after a satisfying comedic narrative, this show ended. Then started again with another ending. And another. I actually lost track of how many endings there were, but it was obvious the audience was becoming increasingly disengaged. Ruby seemed to pick up on this disengagement.

Second, Ruby turned on the audience (or more euphemistically, challenged the audience) pulling a Sandra Bernhard move. Sensing the audience’s disengagement, Ruby said, ‘Until you participate, the show won’t end.’ With all the endings we’d had by that point, I took her threat seriously.

Third, as hinted at in my second reason, these extra endings did nothing to add to the story of Comet Boombox. Each was more bizarre than the one before it.

It may not seem that way, but I hate giving bad reviews. In 29 years as a reviewer, this is only the second predominantly bad review I’ve given. The core part of the show was a wallopingly good laugh. Just remember to sit at the back of the theatre so you can leave after the first ending.

The Astonishing Comet Boombox
Bluestone Church Arts Space, 8A Hyde Street, Footscray
Performance: Friday 20 October 2023

Image: Ruby Duncan stars in The Astonishing Comet Boombox (supplied)

Review: Daniel G. Taylor