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Bill O’Neill: The Amazing Banana Brothers

Words: Caitlin Finnerty

3 stars

Bill O’Neill’s Fringe debut, The Amazing Banana Brothers, is a wild and wacky ride through slapstick comedy. From the start, O’Neill greets the audience by yelling at them through a megaphone, setting the tone for a madcap experience.

Self-proclaimed ‘best boy of the fringe,’ O’Neill’s stage, with its chalkboard tally and a trash can full of bananas, showcases his dedication to the absurdity. The sweltering room adds to the chaos, creating an atmosphere of calamity that fuels his energetic antics.

Directed by Natalie Palamides, the show follows the exploits of daredevil brothers on a quest to slip on 1,000 banana peels. O’Neill tackles their distinct personalities – Kevin Calamity and Joey Insanity – showcasing his comedic range.

The performance’s physical humour and slapstick banana slip stunts, like Freudian slips and Shakespearean pratfalls, leave the front row quite literally in a mess. O’Neill’s audience interactions, including a banana-sharing session and daring gold star tassels, add a participatory touch.

Unhinged is an apt description for this controlled frenzy, akin to watching a street performer’s entertaining meltdown, albeit one you’ve paid for. The offbeat charm resonates differently with each viewer – some relish the chaos, while others are left bewildered. The pinnacle arrives when O’Neill interacts with an audience member named Mark, echoing the collective sentiment: “Who makes an hour-long show about slipping on bananas?!” Amid the madness, a surprising musical finale adds depth to the spectacle.

The Amazing Banana Brothers might be an acquired taste, but it certainly offers an eccentric experience.

Bill O’Neill: The Amazing Banana Brothers
Pleasance Courtyard, Beside
24-27 Aug


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