Journey to The Centre of The Earth

Journey to The Centre of The Earth
By Jules Verne, adapted by David Innes and Robert Lloyd. The Butterfly Club, Melbourne. Sep 28 – 30, 2023

In this fabulous revue we see two rambunctious local comedians, David Innes and Robert Lloyd, offer a plethora of sci-fi adventures extracted from the Jules Verne classic Journey to The Centre of The Earth, first published in French in 1864.

The wacky duo revs their audience for an hour of fun “laughs, sad moments and pondering thoughts”. A fantastical escapade across the Icelandic region with retiring geology Professor Otis Lidenbrock and his nephew Axel, who by accident discovers the runes of a sixteenth century alchemist in their home in Hamburg, catapults Lidenbrock to drag Axel along with his muscle power side kick Hans and his beloved duck Gertrude for an expedition deep down into the subterranean bowels of the earth.

These two prats or rather brattish witty chaps have concocted a surreal trip steeped in popular culture inspired by Monty Python‘s seventies comedic formula, meshing lashings of irony with doses of bawdy humour. They work symbiotically to illustrate their eccentric interpretation of this much-loved science fiction novel. Their take on the story is reminiscent of the 1959 film adaptation starring James Mason and Pat Boone. I personally cannot speak of the 2009 film version starring Brendan Fraser as l have not seen it.

Their self-proclaimed “nerdy pop school intermission breaks” delve into historical facts on Verne’s life, including a chronology of films and TV series adaptations. They regurgitate their passion and zeal for this much-loved story, including such droll and or maybe rather intriguing information such as “Jules Verne has been the second most-translated author in the world since 1979, ranking below Agatha Christie”.

The show’s highlights are in the second half, providing further entertainment with skittish song and dance routines, that also include puppetry, aptly illustrate their final climactic adventure. A brilliant ambient soundscape including excerpts from Rick Wakeman’s album Return to the Centre of The Earth (1999), combined with colourful sound effects further imbue their bumpy journey.

Flora Georgiou

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