Unpack This!

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Unpack This!


The program is run by Trevor (Syd Brisbane), a disgruntled man who is fed up with his job, and his perky assistant Lorraine (Michelle Nussey), with her overbearing textbook-style of social work.

Paine and co-star Ross Daniels play all six participants between them. Daniels plays Ngyuen, a difficult Vietnamese man whose apparent sexism is often just a result of miscommunication. Nicholas is an aggressive lost cause, and then there’s Geoff (Paine portrayal of himself), a seemingly normal man who just wants to get out of the class as quickly as possible.

Daniels plays Brian, a guy who doesn’t really seem to need to be there at all, Reg a man in his seventies who had a fit of rage at his Neighbours with an axe in hand, and Bogdan, a junkie who is perhaps the most comical of the bunch, having no clue what is happening around him.

Both Paine and Daniels exude talent and switch seamlessly between their characters, carrying nuances like mannerisms, costume accessories, and speech (particularly Paine’s Vietnamese accent) in a split-second switch.

Unpack This!  Reveals the nature of many behavioural modification classes and the bizarre expectation to change people in one session. The true-to-life patronising nature of both Trev and Lorraine in leading the sessions was amusing, with the use of acronyms like LSG (Let Shit Go) to deal with their anger.

The humour in Unpack This! Is more subtle and observed than most of those in the MICF. If you’re after a show packed with puns and constant laugh-out-loud moments, this is probably not your ideal show. If you’re into theatre with a few chuckles interwoven, it’s worth checking out.