Suitcase Royale deliver zombats

The key to junkyard theatre is finding the trash.

One element of The Suitcase Royale's shows comes about thanks to the items they find on the side of the road.

You don't go looking for particular items, you let them find you.

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"That's what's so good about it," Joseph Neil O'Farrell a member of the group says. "We find things that influence the show - we'll find something and start to build a show out around it."

In Zombatland, the group's latest production, which centres on a caravan park in the middle of the Australian outback, one of the characters was devel- oped from something they found.

"We found a full cricket outfit and so my character became an ex-cricketing legend," he says.

"When we were in London we found PA speaker horns that we managed to hook up, so the sound of the music going through that PA took on that vibe. This low-fi kind of sound - it's really cool.

"Plus, we found a whole heap of guitars which we bought off this 50-year-old guy who was living with his mum and he sold them to us for 20 pounds each.

"So we hooked up these cheap guitars into this cheap PA and it just gave a whole new element to the junk- yard factor."

TSR has been together since they met at university in Melbourne where the three members (they now have a fourth member, Thomas Salisbury) were studying music, dance and theatre.

The three, O'Farrell, Glen Lawerence Walton and Miles Henry O'Neil, started out playing in a band together.

Because of their background in theatre and their love of comedy they were naturally drawn to more than just the music, says O'Farrell.

He lists Lano and Woodly, The Goonies and The Young Ones as inspiration for the progression into the comedic side.

The idea for Zombatland was sparked by a news-paper article where families were being woken up while camping by wombats eating through their tents.

"There were posters up around Healesville Sanctuary in Victoria warning patrons about these wombats," O'Farrell says.

"The image was a bit of a joke with a tent with holes eaten through them. So we thought imagine if that were real - you've got killer wombats on the loose and we went from there."

The group has recently come back from a successful run of shows at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival where they previously won a Green Room Award for their production The Space Show.

They've been given the The Guardian's Critic's Choice award, Timeout's (London) critics pick and are currently working with the ABC for a new show.

Read any review of the group and you'll see the comparisons to The Mighty Boosh or Flight of the Concords. Though O'Farrell says the comparison isn't entirely accurate as they don't write musical theatre.

It's more than that.

"If you're a fan of live music don't be put off that it's theatre," he says. "And if you're a fan of theatre don't be put off by the music, we try to make it as accessible to everyone."

The Suitcase Royale's Zombatland is on at the Star Court Theatre on Saturday, 7.30pm. Tickets $30/25/16.50, norpa.org.au


 



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