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Quick Wit: The Umbilical Brothers

The THWAK boys entertain Kathleen Reynolds.

By New York City

THWAK, an outrageous mixture of Looney Tunes, pop culture and mime, is the hilarious show from the multi-talented Umbilical Brothers. With killer antics and uproarious, hard-to-believe sound effects, THWAK draws audiences into a surreal world of invisible dogs, car chases, slow-mo and underwater action, a dueling tap dance number in which all sound is created vocally, and there are even "rewind" effects for audience latecomers. David Collins and Shane Dundas are the Umbilical Brothers, and their vaudeville-style lip-trip is flip and unique.

The Umbilical Brothers
The Umbilical Brothers
As befitting a modern-day vaudeville, there's the straight man--Dundas--controlling the all-powerful microphone and creating a majority of the show's sound effects. Then there's the foil--Collins--both expressing and representing the physical comedy that drives the show. Together the dynamic duo moves seamlessly from one vignette to another. Imaginary exploding dogs, indestructible insects and even a German performance artist provide plenty of comic fodder, with references to virtually every pop culture phenomena of the past 30 years thrown in for good measure. In this week's Quick Wit, the Umbilical Brothers' brand of co-dependent verbal spontaneity, even during off hours, is put to the test.

TM: Just how much TV did you two watch as kids?

Dave: 400% too much. Growing up, the TV was on during dinner and nobody talked. TV was my family.

TM: Who are your favorite cartoon characters?

Dave: Fog Horn Leghorn, because he reminds me of my father. And Goofy.

Shane: Bugs or Daffy. I can't decide. But I identify with Daffy, definitely.

TM: Who, as a kid, had the invisible friend?

Dave: Lester was mine. Shane's wasn't a person, it was a blue rhinoceros named Bruce.

TM: Seeing how shy and retiring the two of you are, what's your idea of a wild night out on the town?

Dave: Hmm...

Shane: Right, hmmm. Probably doing the show. And sleeping. Actually, I really am shy, and retiring. In fact I wear a blanket all the time. I only take it off to do the show. Now Dave, on the other hand... he's quite a king at the disco. Did you see that Seinfeld episode where Elaine is dancing? He looks something like that.

TM : What's your idea of an ideal date?

Shane: I took my first girlfriend to see "Apocolypse Now". We didn't speak much after that. It took a while for the relationship to get going.

Dave: I took mine to see "SoapDish". God, that was an awful movie. During the movie, I dropped my popcorn all over myself and she thought I was trying to be funny and I made her laugh. So, we got off to a good start.

TM: What type of audiences appreciate your humor the most?

Dave/Shane: Twenty-somethings. The MTV generation.

TM: What makes you laugh?

Dave/Shane [simultaneously]: Shane/Dave

Dave: Oh, and I know what else. You know that part in the show when I'm the crooner and... what's my name?... the name that starts like "hhhwaa"...Geraldo, Javier...

TM: Julio?

Dave: Yea, yea, that's it: Hhwaaoolio.

TM: Okay, we're going to play a little word association with you guys. We are going to say a word, and will you tell us the first thing that comes to your mind?

Dave: Uh oh... this could be dangerous, you see, I have Tourette's Syndrome and I never know what's gonna come out of my mouth.

TM: Don't worry about it... it's all in the name of fun. Here it goes: chainsaw?

Shane: loud

TM: rabbit stew?

Dave: duck season...wabbit season...duck season

TM: Darth Vadar?

Dave: asthma

Shane: large testicles

TM: Marcel Marceau?

Dave: foot... because I stepped on Marcel Marceau's foot when we were performing in London.

Shane: Funny thing is, he didn't say anything.

TM: mayhem?

Shane: tranquil

Dave [soon to be a new daddy]: baby

TM: meow?

Shane: you-ow, we all-ow

TM: wham?

Shane: hairspray

TM: kaboom?

Dave: bread and butter

TM : thwak?

Shane: America. America's one big "thwak!"


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