Smok­ing out mad­ness in pot­ted par­ody play

The Gold Coast Bulletin - Play Magazine - - SHOWS -

PHOENIX En­sem­ble poke fun at pro­pa­ganda with their new par­ody mu­si­cal, Reefer Mad­ness. In­spired by a 1936 ed­u­ca­tional film of the same name, the play is ‘‘over-the-top and campy’’ and stars Pat Dick­son, Scott John­son, Greta Brins­ley, Andy Mac­Far­lane, Karen Oliver, Jodie Lee Scott and Frog John­son. Reefer Mad­ness fea­tures a teacher who sets out to warn his stu­dents against the new drug men­ace – mar­i­juana – by telling a story of a high school stu­dent whose life is rocked by ‘‘the de­mon weed’’. Di­rec­tor Mor­gan Gar­rity prom­ises Reefer Mad­ness will of­fer a night of com­edy and catchy songs. ‘‘While the bound­ary-push­ing satire is all about laughs, it does have an un­der­ly­ing mes­sage,’’ she says. ‘‘That mes­sage isn’t pro- or anti-mar­i­juana, but it is an­tipro­pa­ganda. It makes fun of the ridicu­lous lies placed upon so­ci­ety. Us­ing scare tac­tics and one-sided re­search, pro­pa­ganda films are usu­ally over-acted and their mes­sages slammed down the throats of view­ers.’’ Gar­rity says she dis­cov­ered Reefer Mad­ness by chance and fell in love with the catchy mu­sic, chore­og­ra­phy and ‘‘zany, lovable char­ac­ters’’. ‘‘Ev­ery­thing about this show is unique: it has a huge range of mu­si­cal styles and tack­les a sub­ject mat­ter no other show has dared ex­plore,’’ she says. The out­ra­geous hu­mour in Reefer Mad­ness means it’s not suit­able for ev­ery­one. Gar­rity says the show is for adults who love a good laugh and are will­ing to let their hair down and open their minds. ‘‘Au­di­ences do need to use their judg­ment with their chil­dren, though.’’

Reefer Mad­ness opens at Beenleigh’s Pav­il­ion Theatre to­mor­row and plays Fri­days and Satur­days at 7.30pm un­til June 15.

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