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May 18, 2009 | by  | in Theatre | [ssba]

Sammy J in the Forest of Dreams

One man. One forest. Fourteen puppets. Sammy J in the Forest of Dreams exploded onto the stage with an incredible opening number, Fuck you Disney, in which Sammy J berates Disney for his deluded childhood. The show keeps this pace throughout, racing through an epic story in just one hour.

Sammy J comes across a portal in his house that transports him to the Forest of Dreams, a land home to an array of charming characters, played by puppets (manipulated and voiced by Sammy J and Heath McIvor) who live under the rule of an evil king. There’s the sweet wronged Farlo, the love interest, and two gossiping roosting birds who all live complacently in the forest, picking berries for their king, without questioning why they are not allowed to taste them themselves.

Sammy grows to love his new friends and stages a coup to free the forest creatures from the king’s cruel laws. The very self-aware story is full of heartbreak, love, lust, betrayal and action, demonstrating a brilliant understanding of theatricality, to create a perfectly paced performance that never misses a theatrical or comic opportunity.

Sammy J, Heath McIvor and lighting and sound operator, Marc Edwards, demonstrate genius comic timing and an astonishing ability to gauge and preempt the audience’s response. The audience was unanimously delighted throughout, marked by their willingness to respond and participate.

At one moment Sammy J earns a groan, with his pun “coup o’clock”, but without skipping a beat, an Oscar appears in his hands and he magically wins us back with his hilarious acceptance speech for the “best pun”.

You’ve still got time! Get there if you possibly can. It is crude, rude and a whole lot of fun. Sammy J sent me home from the Forest of Dreams laughing and thoroughly delighted.

Written by Sammy J and Heath McIvor
Directed by Alan Brough
8–23 May @ Downstage Theatre
Part of the NZ International Comedy Festival


About the Author ()

Fiona was named "Recessionista" in the ASPA Fashion Awards 2009 for her Takaka op-shop frock and spray painted shoes. She co-edits the arts section and also likes to write about women and other stuff.

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