James Macaronas, well known amongst the University of Melbourne community for his highly genred sci fi works, presents his first one-man show at the iconic Butterfly Club. Kirk Dangerous Kills the Prime Minister is a political show, entrenched in the realm of science fiction and caricature. The narrative follows the elusive Kirk Dangerous on a mission of assassination. Directed by Ellie Woods, the performance sits at just under an hour and follows a relatively linear plot trajectory, peppered with the use of multimedia and character interjections.
The central one of these characters is the notorious Kirk Dangerous. Whilst somewhat marred by an unsuccessful American accent, Dangerous and the variety of other performed characters are exciting to watch transform. Macaronas dons a different outfit; an array of blazers, scarves, glasses and beanies to demonstrate when there is a character shift. Although these moments of transformation can be humorous, my experience is quite affected by an audience member cackling in front of me to a ludicrous degree. Nonetheless there are moments of true comedy in this show that retain their quality, and it allows for tension relief from what can at times be quite dense text.
While the content is highly political and the concepts often taken from the world of science fiction, it isn’t sensory overload. The script is segmented to provide variance and contrast, and Macaronas demonstrates varying degrees of character development throughout the narrative. I am affected by this work, particularly by a parting monologue which encapsulates so much of what goes on inside my own head when it comes to climate change and both individual and governmental inaction. Unfortunately this powerful speech is delivered not just from the stage, but amidst the audience as Macaronas walks up and down the aisle. This is a direction followed a handful of times throughout the show, always leading to audience members needing to turn around in their seats to see, with many deciding it isn’t worth the discomfort and they should just wait till he comes back to stage. Although it matters less in these moments, when it comes to what feels like the crux of the performance it is a pity it isn’t delivered in a more powerful and grounded way. However the direction is otherwise strong, with the whole of the small stage being utilised and minimal set maximising use of the space.
Although I sit perfectly within the expected audience demographic for this show; a progressive University of Melbourne student, some of the niche references and plot points would elude me if I wasn’t part of this target group. A large section of the show is devoted to the exploration and denouncement of the way in which the University of Melbourne has been and is currently being run, with a focus on income and profit rather than education and progression. References to the University investing in fossil fuels, collaborating with a global weapons manufacturer and refusing to take notice of student protest are all key events in character development. However while they are discussed, these events are never actually explained or even explicitly named, meaning any audience members not familiar with these ongoing issues would be unsure as to why some significant later plot points come to fruition.
An amalgamation of genre, politics and character work, Kirk Dangerous Kills the Prime Minister is both unexpected and predetermined. Although Macaronas leads the audience towards the trope that violence is not the answer, he leaves us hanging as to the actual solution. Voting is not enough, but killing is too far. Maybe making art is just right.
Kirk Dangerous Kills the Prime Minister ran at The Butterfly Club from 25 — 27 April 2019.