• Penny Gleeson

Review: The Angus Project

The Angus Project is a triumph in more ways than one. Aside from providing visibility of young people living with a disability in a way that has not been done before, and highlighting stories from Australia's regional central west, co-creators Nina Oyama (Utopia, Tonightly) and Angus Thompson (who has cerebral palsy and uses a wheelchair) have actually convinced our public broadcaster to pay for them to get fucked up and hang out with each other, at least that's what it looks like. Nina assures us that they were 100% sober for the entire making of the series.

The Angus Project, is part of the ABC’s 'Fresh Blood' initiative which saw 20 bad-arse comic teams from around the country create three short clips for ABC iView in the hope of receiving a whole stack of funding to make a pilot episode to be shown on IRL television. Angus and Nina, along with their team, have since been selected as a finalist and it's not hard to see why.

This is a debut for the duo, with Nina making the transition to directing after a wildly successful year (she played Courtney in ABC’s Utopia and is currently a junior writer for Tonightly) and Angus stepping into the acting spotlight for the very first time. For a couple of young guns who are fresh on the scene, this is some quality work.

It's punchy and laugh-out-loud funny; the kind of fresh and engaging content I’ve been searching for. Who knew it could be so endearing to watch on as someone pisses on a stranger's front lawn? Perhaps it's just my sentimental side, as I too am an ex-Bathurst student and saw first hand the kind of rambunctious and raunchy lifestyles that these students would lead.

"Co-creators [Nina and Angus] have actually convinced our public broadcaster to pay for them to get fucked up and hang out with each other. At least that's what it looks like."

The show follows the adventures of Angus and his 'hopeless' best friend Erika (Oyama) who he hires to be his carer after the last one tried to take him to church. Angus is more likely to have a holy experience at kick-ons than in church.

The story line follows the debauchery and fun of terrorising a fairly conservative country town as a person who happens to have cerebral palsy. From stealing from the local Hot Dollar store to ending up with a penis cast after a series of unfortunate events at Angus' 21st Birthday party, Erika and Angus' friendship flips the traditional disability storyline on its head and is based on the pair's real life experiences...hopefully not the penis cast though.*

Speaking to Twenty Something Humans, Oyama said: "I think the loosest behaviour on set was when we had to shoot Erika smoking a bong for episode 1 and I was punching consecutive tobacco cones (baccy bongs) for like an hour because we couldn't smoke actual weed on set. Had mad head spins, but it came out pretty well!"

A real stand out of the show is its visuals; crisp and colourful with every shot maintaining meaning, whether it's a loving homage to our beloved town of Bathurst or adding another level to the humour (shout out to the chop bowl used for Mi Goreng). Each frame is expertly crafted and seamlessly edited. All credit to Toby Farrington as director of photography, Alessandro Zotti as creative producer and editor and Oyama's directing skills.

With each episode coming in under 8 minutes long, you will have laughed and been subtly challenged before you even realise it's over. It will be incredibly interesting to see how the team keep up the pace and quick wit that they have nailed in the mini episodes in their full-length creation.

The Angus Project is a brilliant, and shockingly accurate, take on the pretty ridiculous experience of rural student life. It’s probably something you wouldn’t want to watch with ya mum, it will make her ask you too many questions about your own life.

The Angus Project is webseries produced in 3 x 6 minute format. Presented by I’m Sorry and You’re Welcome, in association with ABC iView and Screen Australia. The series was created by Angus Thompson and Nina Oyama. ABC Entertainment Producer - Nick Hayden. Executive Producer - Michael Badcock. Series Producer - Craig Anderson.

Images: Supplied

For updates, follow The Angus Project on Facebook.


*We're told that Angus has in fact cut his penis open whilst drunk. Twice.

When Penny was 8 she ran away from home, packing only cubed cheese. She is now 24, and still stands by that decision. She's passionate about Beyonce, Feminism and glitter. Also she really likes dogs. She's chronically ill, but also chronically optimistic.

You can lurk her @pennygleeson.

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