Out, damn Homer, out!


The in­ter­view had been go­ing only half a minute and Po­lice Chief Wig­gum, Moe the bar­tender and Bar­ney, the longest­serv­ing al­co­holic on tele­vi­sion, had al­ready made ap­pear­ances, cour­tesy of Rick Miller.

The Cana­dian comic is bring­ing his Simp­sons-Shake­speare amal­gam, MacHomer, to Welling­ton’s St James Theatre.

The one-man show has toured the world since the mid-1990s.

Miller’s im­pres­sions were in­stantly recog­nis­able as he leapt seam­lessly be­tween char­ac­ters, de­spite the stac­cato Shake­spearean di­a­logue.

Al­though it ap­pealed to a dif­fer­ent au­di­ence than a per­for­mance of Mac­beth, Miller said Shake­speare purists would not be dis­ap­pointed in MacHomer.

‘‘It’s try­ing to pay tribute not just to The Simp­sons, but to Shake­speare as well.’’

It was amaz­ing how peo­ple ac­tu­ally heard the story for the first time, Miller said, when it came out of the mouths of the fa­mil­iar Simp­sons char­ac­ters.

Tra­di­tional Shake­speare fans, far from be­ing skep­ti­cal about the show, had been some of its big­gest sup­port­ers.

They were ea­ger to broaden the Bard’s ap­peal, and Miller said the Simp­sons made ideal bed­fel­lows for Shake­speare.

The char­ac­ters were love­able, and a fo­cus on char­ac­ter and story gave the show a lot of heart, al­though other an­i­mated shows made sharper so­cial com­ment and pushed the bound­aries of ir­rev­er­ent hu­mour fur­ther.

Shows like Fam­ily Guy and Amer­i­can Dad ‘‘went through the door The Simp­sons opened’’, but fo­cused more on tip­toe­ing along the fringes of bad-taste gags.

MacHomer was cre­ated about 16 years ago, when The Simp­sons was com­ing into its own as cut­ting-edge satire.

About half of the orig­i­nal MacHomer sur­vives – Miller rewrote ma­te­rial when he felt the show needed a shot in the arm.

Such a long run spawned mem­o­rable per­for­mances, in­clud­ing an early brush with the fa­mous curse of the Scot­tish play – Miller knocked out two teeth on­stage in the show’s sec­ond year, though he man­aged to fin­ish his per­for­mance.

Al­though such hero­ics might not be re­quired this time, Miller promised a vi­brant show.

MacHomer, St James Theatre, Au­gust 11 to 16.

The Simp­sons.

Multi-di­men­sional: Rick Miller is com­bin­ing Shake­speare and

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