Hootenanny! (playing at Arts Court Theatre), with its blend of clever music and dark humour, makes for an hour well spent.
Hootenanny! is a performance by two Australian children’s entertainers, Hoot and Annie, bouncing back from Hoot’s recent criminal charge selling cocaine to minors – the latest in a long string of misdemeanours, and the straw that might break Annie’s back (figuratively speaking, of course). As both seethe with not-so-secret resentment for each other, they carry on with their show which includes a song about doing your chores (else your parents might sell you to gypsies), responding to letters from their young viewers (“What’s indecent exposure?”), and a big surprise Annie has for Hoot.
Performers Kate Smith and Will Somers not only do an admirable job with their accents and their musical skills (she on the keyboard, he on the guitar), but the dark humour (which includes a song suggesting that instead of teaching your racist grandparents how not to offend people, it’s easier to grit your teeth and wait for them to die) is never forced and many of the more potentially offensive moments are left for the audience to realize on their own, particularly one beautifully-realized song about Hoot’s Uncle Henry. Director Melanie Karin Brown and videographer Cory Thibert masterfully know how to incorporate projections into a show that, far from seeming superfluous, actually reinforce and add to the jokes that Smith and Somers already tell so well. The only very strong criticism I can give to this show is that the ending seems somewhat abrupt, but the more you turn it over in you head the more it makes sense.
If you’re the type who doesn’t shy away from potentially offensive humour, if you like Australian accents, if you love Wondershowzen but hate Rolf Harris, then this is a show you should definitely check out.
A Smith & Somers Production
Created and Performed by Kate Smith and Will Somers
Directed and Dramaturged by Melanie Karin Brown
Videography by Cory Thibert
Stage Managed by Anna Chambers
Running Time: 60 minutes
Playing at Arts Court Theatre
Wednesday June 24 6:00 pm
Friday June 26 9:00 pm
Sunday June 28 3:30 pm