There are two important things you need to know about skinny man Sammy J and the purple puppet Randy (brought to life by Heath McIvor). First, their partnership in theatrical comedy shows of recent years has often been extremely funny. The second thing is that they swear. A lot. Parents keen to take the kids to a MICF show may wish to weigh this up when buying tickets to Sammy J & Randy in The Inheritance.
In The Inheritance, the death of Randy’s uncle sees the pair travel to England to take up residence in the ancestral home of Randy’s family, Felt Face Manor. A series of misadventures strain their friendship, and supernatural happenings suggest that there is a mystery to be solved. The setup gives Sammy J and Randy a chance to interact with various characters skilfully animated by McIvor and makes them re-evaluate their relationship, subject as it is to competitiveness and jealousies.
I do enjoy the work of these distinctively Australian characters and their musical theatre offerings. Their choice to present a stage show with songs (music performed live by Sammy J), props and a story arc gives them a lot more to work with than the usual 60 minutes of stand-up. To top it off, the action barrels along, the songs are generally quite clever, and their tales tend to keep the audience guessing by undermining clichés. Audience members familiar with the characters will get the mania they know, and will be rewarded by a very unexpected and humorous change to Randy’s capabilities in response to taunting from Sammy J.
One of the enjoyable features of Sammy J and Randy’s shows is often the biting observations in their songs. The opening tune highlighting the characters’ despair at filling in a census and their lack of progress since the last one would have been quite amusing if the awful sound quality hadn’t often obscured the lyrics. Fortunately this was the only technical issue in a show which was well executed and delivered many laughs for the audience, myself included.
The characters don’t always behave very well, but you can go to American TV if you want moralising. The Inheritance is a ticket to comedy decadence and enriched my evening much more than many offerings at MICF 2012.