“Stand by, Roll sound, Roll camera – ACTION!” and another group of delighted audience become part of the shooting of another TV Crime Show.
Amidst gales of laughter, a suspect protests his innocence with a most unlikely explanation, a policewoman throws the book at him (a small Yellow Pages at the table really, three times! Then collapses into giggles). Meanwhile in another inconspicuous corner four other audience members are in a car on a stake out surrounded by another ten or so people peering in. Elsewhere on this expansive ‘lot’ (it felt about half a football field), two young students enthusiastically kicked in a dunny door and assaulted the dummy they found inside, someone hesitantly pulled back a sheet covering a ‘body on a slab’ to find with relief it was only a mannequin, and yours truly was empanelled as part of an eight person jury that included a seven year old who promptly put his age up very convincingly to eighteen. Indeed he became our foreman.
It all sounds like and was a lot of fun.
My only reservations were that after a brief introduction to the concept and an invitation when a curtain was drawn to “Come on in and join the production!”, the stage manager, or “Floor Manager” to use the correct term, was not evident. It felt more like a “Living Art” exhibition and one was left to wander around aimlessly peering at this and that. It tended to lack overall cohesion. Indeed our group joined a preceding group and in the short time it took to get to the court room, I hadn’t time to see all the evidence!
The staging was grand scale – but which way to go? The performances were adequate, as was the script. But I was disappointed that the heckling jury member (Guilty – “NOT GUILTY!”), was not dealt with in the manner I would have expected from such an experienced performer as Chris Haywood who played the judge. (The first time I ever saw Chris perform he was a punk rocker you wouldn’t mess with, literally getting his teeth into a rat, a rubber one, in a 1970’s pubshow “Smiles and Piles”). On this occasion he simply went back to the script. He did acknowledge the outburst, directing “amateur performance” at me. Still, it’s a great concept.
BINGO UNIT is playing till Saturday evening July 13 at Carriageworks, 245 Wilson Street, Eveleigh. Check the Carriageworks official website- www.carriageworks.com.au for session times.