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BWW REVIEW: Australia's Favorite Plumber Comes To The Sydney Stage For A Lavatorial Lesson In Respect and Dignity in KENNY

KENNY

BWW REVIEW: Australia's Favorite Plumber Comes To The Sydney Stage For A Lavatorial Lesson In Respect and Dignity in KENNY

Wednesday 20th January 2021, 8:15pm, Ensemble Theatre

Australia's lovable lavatory technician makes his stage debut in Ensemble Theatre's KENNY. Following on from the 2006 mockumentary film of the same name by Clayton Jacobson and Shane Jacobson and the subsequent TV series "Kenny's World", Kenny's story is adapted for the stage by Steve Rodgers for an entertaining and informative evening that promotes respect and acknowledgment for the people that society often tries to ignore simply because of the job they do.

BWW REVIEW: Australia's Favorite Plumber Comes To The Sydney Stage For A Lavatorial Lesson In Respect and Dignity in KENNYFor the transition to stage, Ben Wood dons the khaki overalls and turquoise polo-shirt and adopts the speech pattern made famous by Shane Jacobson (film Kenny) to transform into Kenny Smyth, the plumber from 'Splashdown Corporate Bathroom Rentals" (yes, it is a real company). While the world first met Kenny through the medium of mockumentary film, this new engagement sees Kenny travelling up from Melbourne to deliver the keynote speech at the 'International Portable Sanitation Convention' being held in Sydney in 2021, the assembled audience forming the delegates at the convention. As with the mockumentary, this work is all about Kenny sharing his love of his job but this format is more of a TEDTalk and, in keeping with the structure of a TED talk, Kenny seeks to give people a deeper understanding of his job and the world as he sees it with the intention of hoping to change attitudes and help effect change that is a simple as smiling at the person cleaning a public toilet or looking them in the eye when they've helped retrieve your priceless possession.

BWW REVIEW: Australia's Favorite Plumber Comes To The Sydney Stage For A Lavatorial Lesson In Respect and Dignity in KENNYSet and costume designer Simone Romaniuk has transformed Ensemble's stage into a corporate event space with blonde wood thrust stage and obligatory potted palms are added on top of the utilitarian carpet. Blue drops fall behind a large screen for Kenny's slide presentation and projections of the convention's logo are beamed onto the pillars flanking the stage. The classic corporate banner stand is positioned to the side of the stage and another banner adorns the lectern. This theme is also extended to the rest of the venue, creating an immersive experience and setting people's mindsets before they walk into the theatre. The decision to keep Kenny in his work clothes reinforces his down to earth nature and his assertions that he is not ashamed of what he does.

BWW REVIEW: Australia's Favorite Plumber Comes To The Sydney Stage For A Lavatorial Lesson In Respect and Dignity in KENNYUnder Mark Kilmurry's direction, Ben Wood ensures that Kenny has a warm and engaging personality. There is a high degree of audience participation, presented with Covid-19 safe measures, incorporated into Kenny's talk and while the thought of audience participation can sometimes make people shudder at the thought of potential embarrassment, particularly your BWW Reviewer, Wood ensures that the audience feel safe and willing to help and engage. With dorky dad jokes, bad puns and a delightful self-effacing humble nature and eternal optimism Wood ensures that the audience are all in Kenny's corner as he seeks to open their eyes to the people that society often tries to ignore even though they are doing jobs that are often more of a necessity than anything done by those that have the audacity to look down on them.

BWW REVIEW: Australia's Favorite Plumber Comes To The Sydney Stage For A Lavatorial Lesson In Respect and Dignity in KENNYWhile many will probably know Kenny from the movie and tv series, this new stage show can stand alone as a thoroughly enjoyable piece without any prior knowledge of Kenny's story. Rodgers draws heavily on the source material which helps ensure that those that have not seen the movie gain a full picture of the life of a portable bathroom plumber and the reusing of material is in-keeping with many public speakers' styles.

BWW REVIEW: Australia's Favorite Plumber Comes To The Sydney Stage For A Lavatorial Lesson In Respect and Dignity in KENNYKENNY is a delightful feel good piece of theatre that shares a bit of history, a lot of insight into human behavior and a lot of poo puns. KENNY is a great opportunity for Kenny fans to get another dose of the lovable character and a brilliant way to introduce the character and content to a new audience that have never encountered the plumber before. Fabulously fun and holding an important underlying message, KENNY is well worth seeing.

https://www.ensemble.com.au/shows/kenny/

Photos: Prudence Upton


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