It will be a very busy new year for Shane Dundas and David Collins, writer-performers of the off-Broadway comedy, Thwak. The show will end its run at the Minetta Lane Theater Jan. 2, 2000 and, a few months later, begin a national tour.
The Drama Desk-nominated show started previews March 4 and opened March 18. An evening of physical comedy and self-produced sound effects, the show made such a splash at the Westbeth Theater Center that it closed there May 9 (after 11 previews and 43 regular performances) and made a commercial move to the Minetta Lane Theater, starting up again May 25. By its close, Thwak will have played 13 previews and 206 regular performances at the Minetta Lane. A Cromarty & Co. spokesperson told Playbill On-Line (Dec. 27) the Umbilical Brothers would take a vacation after Thwak and then start a national tour in 2000, but details of the tour have yet to be worked out.
The Brothers are writer-performers David Collins and Shane Dundas, whose past shows include Don't Explain and Heaven by Storm. The two have performed these pieces all over the world, including on London's West End and in Germany, South America, South Africa, Singapore, Australia, New Zealand, Spain and Canada. Awards given to the purveyors of "tightly choreographed mayhem, mime and live audio acrobatics" include five consecutive years worth of Australian Entertainment's MO Award for Best Comedy Group, the Critics Choice Award for comedy in 1995's Edinburgh Festival and the United Slapstick Award in Germany. Television appearances here have included Jay Leno, a stint on Fox's "American Comedy Awards" March 15, and all the sound and voice work on Nickelodeon's animated series, "Maisy."
The design team features Josh Monroe (lighting), Bradley Mayer (sets) and Ray Schilke (sound). Producing the commercial engagement are John Bard Manulis & Liz Heller and Metropolitan Entertainment Group (John Scher/Jeff Rowland).
For tickets to Thwak at the Minetta Lane call Ticketmaster at (212) 307-4100.
With available off-Broadway theatres scarce, the Minetta Lane was quickly snatched up by another show: Fuddy Meers, which ends its extended run at Manhattan Theater Club's second stage space Jan. 2 and reopens commercially Jan. 28.
-- By David Lefkowitz and Christine Ehren