Reviewed by Eilis Lee.
Dreamgun: Film Reads premise seems simple: take a film script, re-write it and stuff a load of jokes in, get your performers and a few special guests to act it out in front of a packed, live audience. The whole idea seems dangerous, too: every script is totally unrehearsed. Even the tech person barely knows what’s going on, a fact that our hosts joke about at the show’s very start.
But the Irish comedy podcasters are good. So damn good, in fact, that it doesn’t matter that I’ve never actually seen Jurassic Park, the film they’re taking aim at on the rainy Friday night I choose to go, all the way through. How they manage to condense an entire film into an hour full of constant, bellyache-worthy gags is anyone’s guess, but Film Reads is a work of art. The writers and cast know Spielberg’s source material so well — and obviously have a soft spot for it — that they can show it for how ridiculous it often is, and do so brilliantly. The cast are unafraid to go meta or tackle meaty issues like sexism, and they even poke fun at themselves; a quick joke about one of the cast’s hilariously dodgy, unplaceable accent gets one of the biggest laughs of the night.
It’s obvious that the performers are enjoying it just as much as the raucous audience, and it’s wonderful to see. Each cast member is hugely talented and they play even the tiniest supporting roles with aplomb – it’s practically impossible to pick a standout moment, although my Goldblum-obsessive heart is stolen by Tony Cantwell’s shockingly good embodiment of the honey-voiced chaos theorist. I’m a full-blown convert at this point: I’d absolutely love to see how they interpret the other films on their roster, from The Lord of the Rings to what I can only expect to be an unforgettable version of Silence of the Lambs. Something very deep inside me needs to experience a Dreamgun Hannibal Lecter.
For film buffs, casual viewers and, well, basically anyone, it would be a crime to miss Film Reads. An hour absolutely stuffed full of laughs, raptors and sheer joy, this show truly is dreamy.
Dreamgun: Film Reads runs at Underbelly Dairy Room at 22:15 until 25th August.