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one man breaking bad-the unauthorised parody @ the reginald theatre


Have you seen that one-man play paying homage to the TV show about the dying high school teacher who teams with a former student to cook the purest crystal meth ever made in the southwest US to make money for his family and pay his medical bills? Sounds hilarious, huh?

Fans of Breaking Bad, of which there are millions worldwide, don’t need to be told it was one of the greatest shows ever made. They understand all too well that strange void it left when it finished, Game of Thrones, Mad Men et al notwithstanding.

Twenty-four year old LA actor Miles Allen is obviously a huge fan and what started out as character impersonations on YouTube has grown into a unique one-hour play titled One Man Breaking Bad – The Unauthorised Parody, or alternatively all 60 episodes in 60 minutes. The show, which has already had sell-out runs at comedy festivals in Melbourne and Edinburgh, has also achieved critical acclaim and is due to open in the US some time later this year.

So how do you condense some of the most powerful and dark drama ever brought to the small screen into a single hour and make it amusing at the same time? In much the same way you condense The Complete Works of William Shakespeare into 90 minutes, I suppose.

Some of the main plot points are there, while others are glaringly missing. The main characters – Walt, Jesse, Skylar, Hank, Saul, Walter Junior, Mike and Gus Fring are all represented too, to varying degrees.

The story is narrated by Jesse, accompanied by a smattering of wigs, props and screenshots, and Allen’s impersonations coupled with his sheer flamboyance manages to captivate.

Walt is menacing, Skylar is annoying in a yellow-wigged drag queen kind of way, Jesse is totally “yo bitch”, Saul is over-the-top dodgy, Hank is ever-so-slightly behind the 8 ball and Walter Junior is obsessed with breakfast.

I particularly liked the parallel with Walt and Darth Vader, Saul’s catchphrase, Junior (who let’s face it never did do much in five whole series) and Mike’s deader than deadpan persona. As the narrator, Jesse is the character Allen is most comfortable with and is pretty much spot on, albeit in a larger and more confident kind of way.

Allen has to some extent succeeded in extracting giggles from scenes which you wouldn’t think lend themselves to it, like when Skylar gets here first real inkling of what Walt’s become – the “I’m the one who knocks” scene. Watching that I couldn’t help thinking of the “Talking Bad” parody on Jimmy Fallon’s Tonight Show which I saw on YouTube not that long ago.

The scene where Jesse tells Walt how he wants out (from his hospital bed after being severely beaten by Hank) was another one of those moments, thanks to Allen’s adept use of audience participation.

Was it the greatest one-man show ever? No. Is it something that someone who isn’t a die-hard BB fan should see? Probably not. For fans, however, everyone has their favourite characters and moments and it was fun seeing how they’d be treated.

Turning a seminal TV show it into a one-hour comedy was never going to be easy. It took a lot of balls and Miles Allen deserves high praise for what he has accomplished.

A Sydney Comedy Festival production, Miles Allen’s solo show ONE MAN BREAKING BAD- THE UNAUTHORISED PARODY finishes its brief season tonight at the Reginald Theatre, the Seymour Centre where it has been playing since last Tuesday, 21st April.


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