Good for a laugh


Coming Attractions
By Ted Tally
New Theatre, Sydney
Fri & Sat at 8pm and Sun at 5.30pm until December 23. $20/$15. Bookings 519 3403
Reviewed by Lisa Macdonald
Coming Attractions, the latest production of Sydney's New Theatre, is good entertainment. The theme is simple: Publicity! Who needs it? How d'ya get it? And what's it worth? The plot is a lot more complex, jamming an astonishing number of characters, situations and gags into 90 minutes of non-stop action. Manny Alter, a slimy, hard up theatrical agent (brilliantly played by Greg Leisner), who only has "dog acts" on his books teams up with Lonnie (Adrian Snodgrass), a bumbling young thug desperately seeking notoriety. Manny persuades Lonnie to join him in a scam of epic proportions in which they make their fortunes by exploiting the cynicism, hysteria and naked greed of the establishment media in the USA. Using dialogue, monologue, song and dance, Coming Attractions manages a nice balance between high farce and gruesome realism. The script is not highly polished but it's fast and contains some real gems. The acceptance speech by the winner of the Miss America pageant is hilarious. The dozens of clever stereotypes keep you cringing or laughing the whole time. This is very much a progressive play but it is not politically correct and no-one is immune from the Ted Tally's barbs — psychotic psychiatrists, irreverent chaplains, dumb cops, gay show-hosts, "sisters in suits", sexist judges, vulture-like lawyers, anti-imperialist terrorists, and just about everyone associated with the mainstream media industry. There are no heroes in this play. Coming Attractions is not a play for those who want some subtle intellectual stimulation. It's criticism of the capitalist media is served up straight, and you either recognise and enjoy the stereotypes, or you don't. If you like Green Left Weekly because you hate the content, packaging and marketing of the establishment media then you'll get a lot of laughs from this play. Coming Attractions is good entertainment.

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