MICF Review – One Man Breaking Bad: The Unauthorised Parody
The Kelvin Club, Melbourne Place
Now showing as part of the Melbourne International Comedy Festival until April 19.
As you might imagine, this is a dream show for any current, recovering or former Breaking Bad addicts, and not really one for an audience that hasn’t done their 47 ½ hours beforehand. Almost nothing seems to get past Miles Allen, the man behind, in front and in the centre of One Man Breaking Bad: The Unauthorised Parody. His pithy commentary on the show’s biggest highs and lows are as piercingly accurate as his gallery of hilarious impressions. While coming off as a stand-up comic by nature, he’s come very close to mastering the art of mimicry, instantly snapping in and out of many of Vince Gilligan’s memorable characters, and also a few other surprise pop culture favourites. I suspect there may be a few more One Man shows to come from this guy. His accuracy certainly gives him the right to play Walter Junior. Early on, he declares that he has no qualms about stepping into this character, and indeed, why should he? Allen moves past focusing on his disability as quickly as the show does, so that the young man’s cerebral-palsy-affected speech is well copied but not ridiculed. He can well afford to avoid stooping to that level, since, as it turns out, there are plenty of other things about the character to make fun of.
If only Allen had brought the same creative wit to his parody of Skyler White, who has perhaps been the show’s most controversial character. He really only has one joke to make about her, and it’s been plagiarised off the internet – apparently she’s a “bitch”, because she’s a woman who does and says many unpleasant things, in the same way I guess that Walt is a “bastard”, because he’s a man who does and says many unpleasant things. If you imagine Allen calling Walt a bastard repeatedly throughout the show and leaving it at that, you have some idea of just how hilariously entertaining his spoof of Skyler is. Funnily enough though, his imitation of Skyler’s voice is spot on, and he does have a lot of fun wearing the wig and hamming it up, so even if it’s not clever comedy, it’s at least a good drag act.
Fortunately, his mockery of the other characters is very well observed and tightly delivered. He calls the show out on its every instance of simplistic characterisation, weirdly placed comic exaggeration, and self-conscious attempts at artiness. Technically, it’s Jesse Pinkman who narrates all of the season re-enactments – another great impression, except for the occasional curious slip into a Russian accent – but this is mostly Allen doing a stand-up show with a lot of demonstrations. The atmosphere is very relaxed, such that Allen often cracks up on stage during some of the more ridiculous moments. He’s hardly a straight-faced comic who appears oblivious to the hilarious side of what he’s presenting – you can always tell he’s laughing along with us, a bit more like a fun party guest than a performer. This is certainly a comic who knows how to bounce jokes off a crowd and is not at all fazed by audience interaction, especially the unscripted kind. Most of the time you simply feel like you’re in a room full of happy fans, one of whom happens to be on the stage entertaining the rest of us.
– Christian Tsoutsouvas