A frothy fizzer

Who planted the explosive device in the loungeroom of political consultant Busby McTavish’s home? That is the intriguing and possibly exciting premise upon which the MTC‘s latest offering, The Grenade, is based. Little more than two hours later we are none the wiser … and really don’t care. In between we have been treated by playwright Tony McNamara to a frequent but haphazard sprinkling of witty one-liners and aphorisms that seem more designed to show off Garry McDonald‘s impeccable comic timing than to further such plot lines as may exist in a story that has as many unconnected threads as a mad woman’s knitting. McDonald is surrounded by the zaniest collection of characters gathered on the local stage for many a long while. They froth, fume and fornicate in a frenzy of wordplay delivered with excellent timing and pace on a revolving set that opens many windows into the McTavish home and its inhabitants. The show is notable for the excellent performances of several young newcomers to the MTC stage; Belinda Bromilow, Gig Clarke, Jolyon James and Eloise Mignon are never outshone by stalwarts Mitchell Butel and Genevieve Picot. It’s a nonsense night with lots of laughs but little meaning. Maybe it is significant that the hand grenade that provides such an dramatic opening never even did so much as fizz.

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