Just how far can the banana’s comic potential be taken? And do they really deserve to be the butt of the joke? Both are good questions, and New York’s Michael Galligan has set out to answer them. In an unpredictable cocktail of clowning, karaoke, and audience participation, Banana never slips up as it takes a bunch of apparently random elements and combines them into a memorable clowning experience.
Beginning as a ludicrously French Gros Michel banana, before going on to become a Cavendish banana, Galligan quickly sets the mood with an over the top and very funny entry on to the stage. Almost immediately the crowd are brought in on the action, and there is sheer delight in watching them wrestle with what Galligan makes them contend with throughout the show. A bingo machine, sun cream, and a g-string all go on to feature heavily, while a box emerges as a powerful metaphor for this particular banana’s imprisonment.
There are predictably a lot of banana puns thrown in, yet enveloped as they are in the ordinary run of dialogue that they scarcely feel corny or forced. This hybrid collection of comedic ingredients ends up as a great success, all but guaranteeing laughter and rapture from the audience even if they at times aren’t too sure how to react.
Banana has already toured in and around New York City earlier this year. As a result, for all the hilarious silliness afoot, this is a performance that has clearly been practiced and tailored to a fault. Transitions from one scene to another are handled smoothly, and Galligan oozes a brilliantly oafish confidence whenever he sets about his latest gag. Full of cheek and wit, Galligan is so clearly at home as a banana gladiator in the most absurd of arenas, fighting a good fight in the name of popular fruit and entertainment.
A well performed, chaotic and above all else funny production, Banana rekindles the fruit’s reputation for comedy and laughter while turning it up in a way you won’t have seen before. Galligan is a sight to behold in a show that might not be to everyone’s liking, but then he would be the first to tell you that if everyone enjoyed bananas and treated them with respect, his story would have played out very differently.
Banana runs until Sun 27 Aug 2023 at ZOO Southside – Studio at 14:15