The Lonely Spirits Variety Hour
An existential mishmash of Spike Milligan and Jacques Tati with an Australian flavour, this is absurdist comedy at its weirdest and most charming.
Neville Umbrellaman is a verbose, velvet-voiced intellectual who hosts a late-night radio show from his parents’ garage. The alter ego of Rabindranath Chakraborty, Umbrellaman is deeply committed to the program, a labour of love and fantastical fancy that masks deeper, more tragic truths. Luckily, he’s got plenty of eccentric guests to help him out, from folk singer Kenneth Wong and Terry the neighbour to French baker Yvette and Chakraborty’s secret crush, Sabrina D’Angelo. But is anybody tuning in?
This adaptation of Nitin Vengurlekar’s lauded stage show of the same name is a rare gem of independent local filmmaking. Starring Vengurlekar as Chakraborty/Umbrellaman – reprising the role he also played onstage – the film builds on the warped whimsy of award-winning director Platon Theodoris’s debut feature Alvin’s Harmonious World of Opposites, enabling him to stake a claim as one of the country’s most distinctive and curious filmmakers. The Lonely Spirits Variety Hour is a hilarious, wonderfully weird delight.