People Suck review by Cassandra-Elli Yiannacou
We all know other people can suck it’s a fact of life. Other people are also unavoidable and it’s what we wish we could do when we encountered them that drives People Suck: A Musical Airing of Grievances.
Written by Megan Phillips and Peter Cavell, directed by Sarahlouise Younge and combining talents with a cast of five performers, this one act show had the audience laughing through the worst of humanity.
If you’ve ever been stood up, wanted to murder someone at your office, or felt as though you were the only person in the room with some common sense and empathy you can find a song to relate to.
The musical starts off with a brief explanation for what the audience is getting in to, a song-cycle with no core narrative and opinions that may and should offend. What follows is 90 minutes of catchy melodies and strong vocal performance, the cast takes you through one sided relationship, jealous bridesmaids and more.
The first scene is in a kindergarten, or very early school age, with the teacher thinking she is helping her students by explaining to her student’s what arseholes are and how they’ll be rewarded in life not just in spite of being arseholes, but because they are arseholes. The children spiral into moral panic and the show begins, and the cast flip through characters we deal with in our daily lives, each song targeting a different group to grapple and gripe with.
The musical direction, led by Geoffrey Scarlett was a stand-out, he holds the shows songs together with only a keyboard, rotating through a range of musical styles with ease and aplomb. The cast are able to demonstrate a wide range of vocal styles and techniques with ease, both as solo acts and chorus. Harmonies with the larger numbers were impressive, the small group of actors managed to fill up the space with their sound, and sung with such fullness that it felt more like a castoff double digit.
There was a small amount of sound issues through the night, with microphones occasionally cutting out, but the actors did not miss a beat in their performance and should be commended for it, especially on opening night.
The set was particularly eye catching, wall papered with newspapers, signs and pictures of Trump and Pauline Hanson, there was something to look at in every corner. It was part construction site of the worlds worst, part liminal layer of hell. This set design cleverly serves as being everywhere and nowhere at once, allowing for there to be a clothes rack on stage for quick changes and making popping in and out of scenarios easy.
Since the set made so many references to 2019 it felt like a promise of what to come, it would have been interesting to see a slightly more updated version of this show for 2019’s political climate other than the slight reference.
It needs to be said that creating 15 original songs is no small feat and an applause is owed to the creative team based solely off that effort alone. ‘Bringin’ It Home/Your Problems’ and ‘When I see You Smile’ get a special mention. The duet in Bringin’ It Home/Your Problems about the selfish nature of relationships and the perfect of jealousy and the reality that none of us are truly satisfied in When I See You Smile, were captured perfectly.
stage management: 4/5