comedy Lano & Woodley's Curtains
A little bit physical. A little bit verbal. James Rampton loved it
Saturday 30 September 1995
The Aussie double-act are like Laurel and Hardy after an intensive training course at Billy Smart's. As with Rosencrantz and Guildenstern or Hale and Pace, you can never quite remember which is which, but their music- hall, slapstick schtick in Curtains revolves around Lano bullying - and often attempting to assault - Woodley. When words fail Lano, he expresses himself through a frying-pan vigorously applied to the back of Woodley's head. Their dress - both Woodley's jacket and Lano's trousers are several sizes too small - and style hark back to silent movies. As directed by Neill Gladwin, their stunts would certainly not look out of place at Universal Studios. One breathless two-minute sequence offers consecutive sight gags with that frying-pan, a vacuum-cleaner, a wardrobe-door, and that fail- safe comedy standby, spaghetti. Further on in the spurious plot about a weekend away, Lano shoots Woodley in the chest with an arrow, before they get up to some gravity-defying capering on top of a rickety wardrobe. In the most dramatic moment, Lano calls up 20 men from the audience to hold a tarpaulin into which Woodley drops from a 30ft-high trapeze.
Their cunning stunts do not, however, preclude equally clever verbals. When Lano stumbles on a line, Woodley tells him, quick as a flash: "Here's a new word for your vocabulary: rehearsal." Then Woodley introduces a song about their good friend Terry, which runs in its entirety to: "Terry was a very, very boring person, and nothing ever happened to him that was worth putting in a song." Later, a volunteer from the audience turns out to work in television comedy, and Lano makes a secret prayer of thanksgiving before saying to her: "I don't know whether to get you to sign something while you're up here." Proof positive that not all Aussie comedians are as leaden as Paul Hogan.
At the end, Lano and Woodley perform a show-stopping number of the sort not normally seen in a West End musical; encased head-to- toe in sleeping bags, they leap around like the demented sperm in Woody Allen's Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex, But Were Afraid to Ask - to the sound of Frank Sinatra crooning "My Blue Heaven". An exquisitely daft finale to an exquisitely daft show.
Lano and Woodley are at the Purcell Room, South Bank, London SE1 (0171-960 4242) tonight and tomorrow
GlastonburyWI to make debut appearance at Somerset festival
TV reviewIt has taken seven episodes for Game of Thrones season five to hit its stride
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 California man brutally beat 82-year-old Sikh grandfather he mistook for 'one of those people'
- 2 Amber Peat: Body found in search for missing 13-year-old who left house after argument with her parents
- 3 School kitchen manager 'fired from Colorado school for giving hungry students free lunches'
- 5 Charles Kennedy 'had better judgement drunk than many sober politicians' says Ian Hislop
Syd Barrett's inner visions
Britain's Got Talent 2015: Simon Cowell 'feels like an idiot' after Jules and Matisse scandal
Game of Thrones season 6: George RR Martin doing 'anything he can' to get new book The Winds of Winter out before next HBO series airs
Game of Thrones, Battle of Hardhome: 20-minute Wildlings versus White Walkers battle took a 'solid month' to film
Game of Thrones season 5 episode 9, The Dance of Dragons: Jon Snow returns to The Wall after epic Battle of Hardhome
Thousands of teenage girls enduring debilitating illnesses after routine school cancer vaccination
Migrants in Kos: Photos show real tragedy after Brits abroad complain of 'awkward' holidays
British tourists complain that impoverished boat migrants are making holidays 'awkward' in Kos
Michael Gove determined to scrap the Human Rights Act – even if Scotland retains it
Threat to scrap Human Rights Act could see UK follow Nazi example, warns UN official
Church of England 'one generation away from extinction' after dramatic loss of followers