by Catherine Blanch.
Multi-award winning physical theatre clowns, The Umbilical Brothers return to Adelaide Fringe to perform one of their most beloved shows. Shane Dundas and David Collins are celebrating the 15th anniversary of Speedmouse with four shows only at Royalty Theatre.
Shane Dundas – the one without the hair – is in Perth as we speak. We ask why The Umbies are bringing Speedmouse back to the Adelaide Fringe.
“We’ve only just completed the KiDSHoW (Not Suitable For Children) Tour and finished filming some stuff for TV, so we haven’t had time to create a new show,” Shane says. “But also because we haven’t done Speedmouse for a couple of years and everywhere we travel we get asked where the Roadie is. It doesn’t matter what show we are doing people love Speedmouse. And Roadie is the monster we have created – people love him more than us and we just have to accept that! There’s no one like Roadie; he is a law unto himself.
“Of course, this version of Speedmouse will feel fresh, because of the new little details we have added over the years. For example, there is a section called Body Talk where David listens to what is inside his own head. We’ve added a few things here and there so that those who have seen the show before will get to enjoy a few unexpected fun bits. Of course, we do that for our own sanity as much as for the audience enjoyment.”
How much of your material do you discover by mistake?
“A lot! We can talk about conceptual gags, write something down and then fit it in the show it would be great to try this out,” he says. “But other times we run with a gag that comes out on stage. It’s a bit like throwing yourself into an improv situation that fits within the overall narrative. If the audience is having fun then we are more relaxed makes us go off of weird tangents. Speedmouse started as a 50-minute show and ended up being an hour and a half – just from mucking around.”
What came first: Speedmouse or your TV smash hit children’s show The Upside Down Show?
“Speedmouse was already a show when the Sesame [Street] people first approached us back in 1999. We visited Sesame Street and actually got to take a photo in Oscar’s trash can, which was great! It was a number of years later when they contacted us again, asking if we wanted to make a kids TV show with them.
“We started workshopping ideas between us and their writers, and we threw the remote idea in early; that interactive comedy is the best thing about The Upside Down Show. It’s just a handy idea that we took directly from Speedmouse and it all grew into a whole another animal.”
Kids love the silliness of The Upside Down Show, so do you agree that Speedmouse offers adults the opportunity to experience that same level of free imagination?
“Yes. I get on really well with kids but we were always aware of what adults needed to,” Shane says. “With The Upside Down Show the mantra was ‘Well, kids are going to love this but we really want to make sure there are gags in there for the grown-ups as well!’ So we added subtle little things that the parents watching along with their kids will be able to laugh at.
“Speedmouse is like a kids show for grown-ups – it will bring out your inner child!”
There is some swearing in Speedmouse. Can parents take kids along?
“Sure. So long as they are okay with us giving each other the finger and slipping out the occasional swear word. I guess it’s up to individual parent judgement.”
For those that haven’t seen Speedmouse before, what would you like to say to them?
“This is our twenty fifth year of me and David performing together as The Umbilical Brothers, so basically we know our shit!” Shane laughs. “We’ve performed in thirty sevencountries and Speedmouse is undoubtedly our most loved show around the world. So, just trust us, come and see it and enjoy the fun of the surprises.”
Do you have a final word on the Roadie?
“With the Roadie, there is no try there is just do!”
The Umbilical Brothers – Speedmouse performs at Royalty Theatre from 8pm on Fri 27 Feb until Sat 5 Mar [4 shows only].
Book at FringeTIX on 1300 621 255 and adelaidefringe.com.au. Click HERE to purchase your tickets.