Close to the Power of the Dream…but no cigar

With the Olympics fast approaching, The Power of the Dream, a new web series written by and starring Alexandra Keddie and Bobbie-Jean Henning (previously seen in The Housemate) is a worthwhile reminder that not all those who strive for greatness achieve it.

Alexandra Keddie and Bobbie-Jean Henning in The Power of the Dream

This mockumentary, now available on Facebook and Instagram, follows cousins Amy Bland (Keddie) and Brooke Bland (Henning), a professional dog walker and a Best & Less deputy manager, respectively, as Brooke trains Amy for Olympic greatness at Tokyo 2020. The problem is, Amy’s a hopeless athlete and Brooke’s a hopeless coach.

Another problem is…that’s pretty much all there is to this series: Amy and Brooke failing at sport/coaching and no one having the heart to tell them to stop. Not that this series contains much in the way of other characters who could stop Amy and Brooke, even if they tried. The only character who has any sort of airtime on the show is Aunty Pam (Christine O’Neill), and she’s barely in it. Which can, at times, make this series feel rather one-note.

If this sounds vaguely like Chris Lilley’s We Can Be Heroes: Finding the Australian of the Year, then it is. Both series have the same problem of too much focus on the star characters, with little in the way of contrast or balance. This, in turn, puts an awful lot of pressure on those star characters to be consistently funny, and when they sometimes aren’t, it’s a disappointment. (Although, unlike We Can Be Heroes: Finding the Australian of the Year, The Power of the Dream at least manages to avoid any white performers doing yellowface.)

But when The Power of the Dream does make it work, it can be pretty funny. And Keddie and Henning have worked hard to find every single way they can to get laughs out of Amy sucking at sport and Brooke sucking at coaching.

Keddie, who does most of the slapstick, is particularly good at being uncoordinated in or around a pool, on gymnastic equipment, on a running track, as a weightlifter or almost anywhere else you can name. While Henning’s mix of earnestness, ignorance and optimism make her a perfect bad coach, with Brooke trying out endless, half-understood and half-baked techniques to improve Amy’s performance.

So, while The Power of the Dream isn’t gold medal-worthy in the Olympic comedy stakes, it might make the final. Or get damn close.

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