‘tis the season for Christmas parties and Nakatomi’s is set to be a cracker, hosted as it is by Act React in the return season of the company’s site-specific Die Hard: The Movie, The Play. The Brisbane Powerhouse’s Turbine Platform has been transformed into the Nakatomi Plaza of the 1988 action film favourite’s Los Angeles location. Its levels add opportunities to fully experience its explosive unfolding as Nakatomi company’s employees (in this case audience members) gather to celebrate at their annual Christmas party until fanatical terrorists hijack the celebrations.
At the criminal helm is meticulous mastermind renegade German extremist Hans Gruber, played well by James Tinniswood. He not only carries himself with a suave arrogance appropriate to the antagonist’s over-exaggeration, but his smooth-talking showcases a parody of Alan Rickman’s signature vocal cadences.
In keeping with tradition of the Brisbane-based company’s other low-fi film-to-stage pop-culture-inspired performances, the biggest role, however, is left to an audience member. On opening night, white singlet-clad, bare-footed New York cop John McClane did a marvellous job dealing with the chaos when all he wanted to do is patch things up with his semi-estranged high-powered corporate wife Holly (Natalie Bochenski). With only the dad from TV sitcom Family Matters (Simon Chugg) as backup, he threw himself into the role … and down and through elevator and ventilation shafts. Wisecracking one liners and improv are all part of the performance.
Experience of Die Hard: The Movie, The Play is about little moments as well as parody. The interactive show cleverly operates on many levels, including through pop culture nods to the bodies of work of the film’s cast of actors. Trademark Act React low-fi special effects and inventive low budget props help bring the Christmas classic to stage ensuring all key plot elements appear and provide much of its comedy. This is primarily through the antics of 3DS (Ellen Hardisty) in motion capture green skin tight suit, especially in her flirtatious distractions with certain audience members.
Die Hard: The Movie, The Play is mindless entertainment of the most enjoyable sort … light-hearted escapism that you don’t have to think about too much to enjoy. Much of the show’s charm comes from it never taking itself too seriously.
Die Hard: The Movie, The Play is showing at Brisbane Powerhouse until 23rd December, 2021.
For more of Meredith Walker’s theatre reviews, check out Blue Curtains Brisbane.