CHEEKY MOON INVOLVED IN CULT
The last time we wrote about Cheeky Moon, the comedy duo had performed a one-hour side splitting sketch show. Almost five years, a multitude of international film festivals under their belt, and several awards later, Cheeky Moon have blown everyone out of the water with their latest project—an eight-episode comedy mystery so good it should be on Netflix.
Aptly named It’s a Cult!, the series is certainly going to have its own cult following. And if the weekend’s audience at the cinema premiere can be used as a benchmark for future online streaming viability, It’s a Cult! is already a raging triumph for Cheeky Moon.
Written, directed, and produced by Claire Coe and Alastair Craig, the gifted duo inject a surreal comedy flavour (think Monty Python) with a sprinkling of dark humour in this series. Those familiar with and fans of Steve Pemberton and Reece Shearsmith’s work (The League of Gentlemen, Psychoville, and Inside No. 9) will likely push Cheeky Moon’s It’s a Cult! to the top of their favourite comedy series list.
In this series, Coe and Craig feature other actors while only making cameo appearances themselves. The first three episodes introduce the different characters, most of whom feel a bit lost and inadvertently seek help—a couple desperately trying to start a family, a petty criminal, and a wanna-be writer; except for the antihero, Professor James Gilmore, a puppet with workplace psychopath tendencies and a hugely magnetic personality.
It's in the fourth episode where we start to see how the characters are connected, all while the mystery deepens—people are suspiciously disappearing, Professor Gilmore’s ways of working become more and more questionable, and the plot twists are revealed like onion layers.
Coe and Craig’s ablest writing and directing skills in It’s a Cult! are worthy of winning awards. Each episode is so ingeniously created, you’ll want to watch it at least four times to pick up all the little comic nuances. Since each episode is cleverly jam-packed with these nuances, they are easy to miss because you will probably still be laughing at the joke that happened 40-seconds ago. And you know it’s a hit comedy series when you want to watch it over and over again! There are also a couple of in-jokes the improv community will appreciate and understand.
Of course, it takes more than expert comedy writing and directing skills to make a hit such as this. The lead actors—Christine Milo, Rhys McCane, Bronte Pearce and Sam Monaghan—are expertly cast in their respective roles, each of them so talented you’ll want to look them up on IMDb to find out what else you can see them in.
The supporting actors are a mix of comedians, improvisers, and stage actors local to south-east Queensland, including puppeteer Brett Hansen. For many of these supporting actors, this was their first time in front of a camera, and all adjusted to this format extremely well.
Although there are a number of directors of photography for the eight episodes—David Aponas, Owen Smith, Sean Smith, Dean Swindell, Pearce Hoskinson, and Joshua Tate—they worked as one, making the look and feel from one episode to the next seamless.
At the movie-length premiere of It’s a Cult!, we discovered the Cheeky Moon duo are funny by nature, not just for work. One of the directors had placed our reviewer next to the little-known Daddo brother, Gary Daddo—little-known because Gary is actually fictitious. Well, the joke is on Gary because he missed out on a superb movie-length comedy mystery called It’s a Cult!
If, like Gary Daddo, you missed out on the movie-length version, weekly episodes begin 8 February 2023 on Cheeky Moon’s YouTube channel: youtube.com/cheekymoonfilms.
Check out the trailer here: