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Festival noir trilogy stalks mean streets
Festival noir trilogy stalks mean streets

All the hard-bitten gumshoes in all the gin joints and mean streets of classic film noir live on in the trench coat of Bruce Bane, the alter ego of English actor Joe Bone.

Bone (his real name; it has not been changed to protect the innocent) heads to Perth next month to present The Bane Trilogy as part of Fringe World.

The one-man show pays satiric homage to the great characters in The Big Sleep, Double Indemnity, Laura, Kiss Me Deadly and The Maltese Falcon, as well as neo noirs such as Blade Runner, Sin City and Basic Instinct.

Bone plays antihero Bane and 78 other characters in a show billed as Die Hard meets Naked Gun and best described as a graphic novel come to life on stage.

In 2011, Bone set an unofficial world record for the most characters played by one actor in a single theatre production.

"That was never ratified by Guinness, which kind of adds to the mystery," he says over the phone from a dark and stormy London ahead of his Australian tour.

Performing his trilogy back to back, Bone's 79 characters exceed the 52 played by Laxman Deshpande in the one-man play Varhad Nighalay Londonla. But he refused to hand over his script to Guinness record-keepers.

"There were all sorts of caveats that gave them the rights to everything you send them to ratify the record. I got a little bit scared and I'd had the original publicity and the audiences were good, so I never went whole hog.

"Perhaps I have been living in the film noir world too long and I'm suspicious of everything," he laughs.

With no set and no props, Bone's atmospheric monologue tells the story of tough guy Bruce Bane, accompanied on guitar by Ben Roe.

The show, which enjoyed a month of full houses at the 2011 Edinburgh Fringe, grew out of a party trick when Bone started doing impersonations of various characters after a film noir video binge.

Bane has taken on a life of his own, spawning three stage shows, a graphic novel, a social-media narrative and a radio production. Perth audiences can see Bane 1 and 2 packaged up as one back-to-back show, with Bane 3 seen separately.

Like all the best parody, it comes from a position of great respect, Bone says. "It's more a send-up and a love letter at the same time. I do have a great affection for the genre. It is not just lambasting and lampooning noir. It is rather affectionate to the genre."

Bone describes the show as a "theatrical micro-neo-noir comedy".

"It is an oversaturated genre, I'm sure you would agree. I can't move for all the people doing similar shows."

Bane 1 and 2 are at the Blue Room from February 12-16. Bane 3 is at the Perth Institute of Contemporary Arts from February 19-23.