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Adelaide Fringe Festival Review: ''50 Years of Doctor Who!" Preachrs Podcast Live 2! - Box Factory Community Centre (14.02.14)

It's Valentine's Day and as I have done the last few years, I've spent it with one of my true loves, the Adelaide Fringe Festival. The rain has stayed away long enough tonight to allow all the opening night festivities to go ahead and while I've missed the parade through the CBD, I am kicking off season 2014 with a show. I'm down on Regent St at the Box Factory Community Centre to see the Preachrs Podcast present its second Fringe show, '50 Years of Doctor Who'.

I caught their show last year because I thought it looked like a laugh and so I was intrigued to see how content and performance had developed in the 12 months since, factoring in performances in other cities and of course, the huge 50th anniversary Doctor Who itself celebrated in 2013. The opening night of their show run draws a decent crowd, there was a Dalek 'greeting' at the door and two more stationed in the main room. Terrifying...

The idea tonight was that Davros and his minions, who'd lost any memory of the Time Lord, had kidnapped two of his biggest fans in Benjamin Maio Mackay (creator and writer behind the podcast) and Rob Lloyd (Melbourne based actor/comedian), as to become re-educated on their famous foe, his companions and everything else in between. In essence, it was a way for the duo to entertain the audience for an hour on which Doctor was their favourite, what constituted a 'companion' and really, highlight many of the great elements of the long-running British show.

The concept was good. The pre-recorded dialogue courtesy of Who cast members Nicholas Briggs (voice of the Daleks), Terry Molloy (voice of Davros) and Simon Fisher-Becker ('Dorium Maldovar') were nice touches. Hell, the show even had messages from Richard Franklin ('Cpt. Mike Yates') and Peter Davison (the 5th Doctor). The effort put into this show has to be commended. Let's remember that Mackay is what, fourteen years old? A talented writer and obviously, an ambitious sci-fi fan, to bring all of these elements together and execute them in the way he has is pretty damn impressive.

The crowd remained polite for a good chunk of the show, though I'd say it was because at times, I thought we were actually in a Doctor Who lesson, as opposed to a comedic jaunt of a festival show. This isn't a bad thing; for a show with as much content and history as Doctor Who has, you have to dedicate time to discussing it, though I feel that as the show becomes worn in over this run and its upcoming appearance at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival, it'll flow easier and is bound to grab heaps of laughs. I think I commented on Mackay's nervousness in delivery through the last Preachrs Podcast show and I'll admit, the lad didn't show any signs of this tonight. You can tell he's an actor, or at least a drama class fan, as he projects and holds himself with a level of bravado you'd expect from someone years older. Sure, he could have bantered with Lloyd more, who drew the majority of the laughs with ad-libbed jokes and comments, but again, I expect this relationship to have its crinkles ironed out as time goes on.

I'd say the show went down well - the audience applauded and were geniunely enthusiastic to be there. I know what it's like to have a multi-date run at a Fringe Festival and it can be tough smashing an opening night out of the ballpark. '50 Years of Doctor Who' was great though, much better delivered and scripted than the show last year, and a great way to continue celebrating a show adored by so many.