Robert Woods is a film buff. Tyler Jacob Jones is a music theatre buff. Together they’ve made a musical about making a film in the year 2042.
That’s it. In a nutshell. Why is this remarkable? Well, for starters, their runaway hit musical Point &Shoot took Fringe World 2014’s top prize, the Martin Sims Award, which gives them $10,000 to put towards getting the show seen by international audiences next year. This year the show can be seen remote parts of Australia such as Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne; they’re embarking on a whirlwind rock star tour of Australia’s year-end festival circuit, playing at the Brisbane Festival from September 16-20, at the Sydney Fringe Festival from September 23-25, and finishing at Melbourne Fringe from September 30 – October 4.
They’ve got a lot of gear to pack away for the trip; the show has props, character hats and musical instruments coming out of its ears. Some will remember a fairly recent revival of Sondheim’s Company where all the performers played musical instruments. Well, these guys have upped the Broadway ante by giving themselves the task of playing two or three instruments each; multiply that by four actors (Jones and Woods are co-starring with Erin Jay Hutchinson and Tamara Woolrych) and you can see where their excess baggage limit might be put to the test.
Jones & Woods (or Woods & Jones, depending on who you like better — I myself don’t play favourites with these two) are longtime collaborators. Before there was Point & Shoot, there was Falling to the Top – The Musical Trashtacular (we’ll eventually forgive them for that dreadful portmanteau), which went from full-length, full-scale production staged at Hackett Hall with Playlovers in 2012 to Fringe-length, Fringe-tent-scale production for Fringe World 2013. This was also a festival hit, taking away Artrage Theatre Award for best Western Australian theatre production of 2013. In retrospect, it was just a hint of the great things to come from this duo.
But even before that, Woods & Jones (or Jones & Woods) were writing together, coming up with ideas for films that Woods wanted to make. Woods still wants to make films (and does indeed work on effects for films for a living), but Jones keeps roping him in to do theatre by saying, “the next one we’ll do will be a movie.” They’ve found some middle ground in both of their original musicals: Falling to the Top featured fake television footage and deliciously cheesy video clips of the musical’s fictional girl group, The Divalettes, and Point & Shoot features an over-the-top movie trailer as well as some very convincing sitcom excerpts, all put together by Woods. He slaved away on those clips for several sleepless days and nights in the run-up to those opening shows, and ever the humble self-critic, he still sees room for improvement in his work. But to audiences, his stuff is far beyond what most theatre makers are able to put together. And let’s not forget the fact that he wrote the show’s music too.
As for Jones? Well, he’s also fairly talented. Let’s just say he gets by. He’s the showman of the pair, is a skilled performer and director (although Gemma Hall is directing P&S), but he’s also gaining quite a reputation for his writing, not only for the books and lyrics of their musicals, but for straight plays as well. He wrote a highly successful short play that was produced at the Mary Street Bakery by The Cutting Room Floor called F*@k Decaf. It garnered huge accolades from The West Australian’s theatre critic, David Zampatti, who cited it as one of the top five productions of 2014 in his unofficially official Turnstile Awards. Jones has a wicked, biting sense of humour that dances on the edge of inappropriateness, but never goes too far or gets too mean, and there’s always a genuine enthusiasm for human foibles in his observations.
Not content to rest on their laurels, Jonds (or Woones) walked away from their Fringe win and immediately set to work on a revue/showcase concert called the Jones Woods Holiday Special to help raise funds for their tour of the big three Over East. They put together a show that featured highlights from FTTT and P&S and included snippets of their back-catalogue of unfinished projects. But stunningly, inexplicably, unbelievably, foolishly (?), they pulled out some entirely NEW new material for this revue, which was nothing less than a micro-musical version of the 2013 film Gravity. You’ve gotta see it to believe it, so watch it here:
To keep up to date with J&W (or W&J) via their production company, Holland St Productions, head over to their Facebook page:
And join their upcoming interstate events via their Point & Shoot: a new musical Facebook page:
Remember, you can catch this new musical Point & Shoot in:
Brisbane at the Brisbane Festival, Sept 16-20
Sydney at Sydney Fringe Festival, Sept 23-25
Melbourne at Melbourne Fringe Festival, Sept 30-Oct 4