If you love grammar, laughter, Darwinism and ranting about all that is wrong in the world, this show is literally designed for you. People Suck – a song cycle that won a swag of awards at the 2015 Toronto Fringe Festival (including Best of the Fringe) had its audience in stitches on opening night, when the Australian cast burst onto the Butterfly Club stage to air out the many thoughts we all have – but would never dare say. Penned by Megan Phillips and Peter Cavell, this song-cycle, which in its opening disclaimer likens itself to the seminal Myths and Hymns, Songs for a New World and Elegies for Angels, Punks and Raging Queens, holds true to its purpose. The writing is top quality – filled with a plethora of songs that will have any budding musical theatre aficionado gagging for the sheet music to this comedic jackpot.
Without giving too much away, let’s just say that if you’ve ever lost your nut at the incorrect use of an Oxford comma, dealt with flippant sexism in the workplace, or been forced to cavort with someone on a daily basis that you actually secretly hate, there is a song in this show written just for people like you.
A brilliantly cast ensemble of five actors bring this strikingly raw material to life with all manner of wit and perfect timing. Ashley Taylor (The Sound of Music – The Really Useful Group), Sarahlouise Younger (WildWorld – The Cat Stevens Story), Zac Alaimo (Wake – Adelaide Fringe), Tim Lancaster (Titanic – StageArt) and newcomer Georgie Potter all possess a sickeningly high calibre of talent both as actors and vocalists. The show is a beautiful marriage of brilliant content, superb casting and very clever direction.
Every scenario, every song, every detail oozes with delicious frivolity. David Youings does a stellar job on the ivories – a big gig considering that dialogue breaks are virtually non-existent. Youings not only provides the musical foundation for the entire show, but also provides some adorable snippets of interaction that make him, as a character, quite loveable.
The only minor (and I mean minor) issue is that of sound - as the cast are not mic'ed, when there is a soloist singing over the top of ensemble voices or stomping choreography, at times it becomes incredibly difficult to hear. That being said, moments like this are few and far between.
This show belongs on bigger stages with bigger audiences. Go buy a ticket whilst it's on this small stage, as I have little doubt that the next time it comes around it will be quite difficult to grab a ticket at all.
People Suck - A Musical Airing of Grievances
The Butterfly Club
8:30pm, March 11 - March 16