If you've ever been single at family Christmas, or a wedding, or an anything where you're surrounded by happy insta-happy couples, you will be oh-so-familiar with the following: "So, have you met anyone yet?", "Oh don't worry love, you'll find someone" and the classic: "You're a catch, why are you single?".
Written and directed by the very talented Sarah Wynen, You're a Catch is a song cycle all about the struggles, triumphs, fun bits and not-so- fun bits of dating and relationships.
The show kicks off with the dreaded family Christmas. Led by Bek Schilling, 'Tricky' is a pretty catchy opening number with sharp choreography provided by Simon McWilliam. The costumes and set are plastered in bright block colours with the kinds of Tetris-like seats that you usually find in kids libraries and youth centres. The show looks incredibly fun - and it is.
We then move into the world of Tinder; a hilarious how-to-guide presented by the embodiment of toxic masculinity. Having spent my fair share of years on dating apps (thankfully buried in my past), this segment staring two of the shows biggest stand-outs: Marcus Doherty and Emily Jacker-Lawrence, had me in stitches. I can't say the same for the poor 80-something chap next to me who was on a one way ticket to dreamland at this point (Tinder was a bit too much for him I think).
Highlights of the show include 'I Hid in the Closet' - performed by a gorgeously awkward Emily Jacker-Lawrence. It's like 'Michael in the Bathroom' from Be More Chill on crack. Jacker-Lawrence also shines with her incredibly smooth jazzy soprano later on in 'Love's Spell' (though the staging for this number is quite strange). Portraying a range of absolutely hysterical characters, Marcus Doherty goes straight for the feelings in the second half with a heartbreaking ballad about loss ('What I'd Give'). Doherty is a fantastic actor with a beautiful voice.
Serving as a semi-eleven o'clock number, Courtney Holt nearly brought the house down with a brilliant song about looking for love to combine with off-the-grid living ('Yurt Life'). The cast is rounded out by a strong ensemble of actors : Blake Peiper, Alexis Longley and Brenton Shaw.
Wynen is to be commended for her solid writing, both musically and in dialogue. Although the show does get slightly ballad-heavy towards the centre, each scene/song is interesting, clear and slightly quirky. Excitingly the sheet music is also available to purchase online (I bought 'Sunlight in an Empty Room' as soon as I got home). This is a budding Australian writer who looks to have big things ahead of her.
The staging and transitions (directed by Wynen and McWilliam) are smooth and effective: ten points for the guitar gag. Musical accompaniment is provided by Eric Freedman. A very proficient musician although the piano was a bit quiet in the mix, which causes some issues with the overall energy of the show - particularly in dance breaks.
This is a really great piece of Australian musical theatre that deserves to be supported. Grab your ticket, see the show, buy the sheet music, then listen to the cast recording on Spotify on the way home.
You're a Catch, Why are you Single? is playing at Theatre Works in St Kilda as part of the Melbourne Fringe Festival until October 8. Tickets.
Photos: Shae Khreish