Eno and Woodley, a new comedy duo comprising slapstick comedian Frank Woodley and music legend Brian Eno, last night thrilled the sell-out audience at the Sydney premiere of their show, Music for Being Hit in the Face with Rakes.
The show featured Woodley indulging in pratfalls, custard pie gags and general buffoonery, accompanied by a live performance of Eno’s specially composed score.
Eno told Sterne that, as with all his ambient works, “the idea is to create a low-volume soundtrack that subtly alters the listener’s perception of an environment. In this case, the environment was simultaneously and not so subtly altering Frank Woodley’s face and body. My favourite bit is when Frank gets smacked in the cobblers with a lawnmower. We worked really hard on getting the right accompaniment for that, drawing in particular on the music and culture of Africa, South America, and Australia's Funniest Home Videos."
The enthusiastic audience brought the duo back for three encores, during which Eno repeatedly beat Woodley about torso and head with an array of inanimate objects. The veteran musician and producer says that in such a performance, the professionalism of the backing musicians is of the essence.
"When I smack Frank upside the head with a crow-bar, I need to know that the band will hit the button that makes the "clang!" noise. Likewise, when I trip Frank over and kick a skateboard into his teeth, I better hear "zing! drrrr! ksh! argh!" or the whole bloody percussion section will have their own orifices interfered with after the show, believe you me."
Eno said that he enjoyed working with Woodley, and denied that the partnership was unusual.
“I spent three years in a band with Bryan Ferry, so it’s not like I’ve never worked with a clown before.”