The Umbilical Brothers: Heaven By Storm

Bruce Mason Centre, Auckland

11/05/2011 - 14/05/2011

Production Details

The Umbies are dead and there’s only one place in heaven. Who get’s there first? The Umbies return to their roots in their brilliant Perrier nominated show, Heaven By Storm. 

The Umbilical Brothers are truly a global phenomenon and they have mesmerised and delighted audiences around the world, as they twist theatrical rules and everyday situations into comedy triumph.

From Hawaii to Tokyo, New York to Stockholm, audiences have laughed like idiots at their acclaimed performances and in this classic show Shane and Dave use the entire spectrum, warping theatrical rules to convey their twisted path to the Pearly Gates. 

The Umbilical Brothers will weave their magic in Heaven By Storm as only they can do, and as with all their adventures Dave and Shane have again raised the stakes to a high where Auckland audiences will be left breathless. 

“Exquisitely crafted…Sheer Imaginative brilliance” The Australian
***** Exhilarating” The Scotsman 

Dates: 11 – 14 May, 8pm
Venue: The Bruce Mason Centre, Hurstmere Rd, Takapuna
Tickets: Adults $34.90, Conc. $31.90 Groups 10+ $31.90
Bookings: 970 9700 or   

Amazing precision and equally entertaining rule-breaking

Review by Kate Ward-Smythe 12th May 2011

Surely one of the most elastic comedy duos on the global circuit, The Umbilical Brothers (Australians Shane Dundas and David Collins), deliver another brilliant, intelligent night of entertaining story-telling, using their unique blend of mime, slapstick, organic sound FX, a few basic props and finely timed theatrical devices.

Heaven by Storm (which they devised in 1994) showcases all the trademark Umbi-tricks yet it’s more plot based than previous shows they’ve brought to NZ. The Umbis are now in their 23rd year, which in part explains why they can produce such finely tuned and timed physical hilarity, and make it look so deceptively easy.

Such a long on stage ‘marriage’ also gives them freedom to goof off, leave the ‘script’ and improvise large chunks of the show. Last night had some fairly loose moments, but for Umbi-fans, that was an added bonus. To the uninitiated, they might have felt a little lost at times, as Shane and Dave weave and compete around the empty stage, trying to find closure about God; Shane’s new sub-plot, ‘Andrew The Cricket’; 20 cents; getting into Heaven; the identity of Terry …

From their fantastic kamikaze entrance to the nightclub scene the show is dotted with precise technical cues, a reminder that these guys know exactly how to use the tools of the theatre for maximum impact and hilarious effect.

In a night full of comedy gems, a few concepts/gags that really stood out for me were the: zip-fetish; Ozzie Osborne-Prince Phillip story; doof-doof music in the car scene; dog & stick skit; night-club conversation; best use of a glo-stick; stand up comedian vs. heckler routine; and Shane’s balding pate taking a star role.

Oh, and thank you to the man in the front row with the bladder issue – a “comedy gift,” as Shane mentioned.

Other highlights include the precisions driven scenes – with Shane on mic providing sound FX and David miming – such as the bathroom ritual with a twist. They are amazing to watch as they perform their slick routines, yet they are equally entertaining when they break all the rules, as well as the ‘4th wall’, and mess with each other’s craft. Though as we headed into 15 minutes ‘overtime’, there’s something to be said for ‘less is more’. 

That said, these guys are world class – and a fantastic left-turn from the conventional stand up comedy shows. A must-see for Umbi-fans and curious first-timers who are looking for something different this comedy festival.  
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