Review: People Suck: A Musical Airing of Grievances

With the potential to become something of a cult-classic, People Suck does well to deliver an entertaining piece of theatre.
Review: People Suck: A Musical Airing of Grievances

People Suck: A Musical Airing of Grievances. Presented by Salty Theatre.

Filled with delightful and hilarious songs about the worst of humanity, it's easy to quickly become a fan of this musical.

Winner of Best of Toronto Fringe and Patron’s Pick in 2015, the Australian premiere of People Suck: A Musical Airing of Grievances proves that this Canadian musical is certainly going to be a hit with Melbourne audiences.

Ashley Taylor and Sarahlouise Younger have combined their talents to create Salty Theatre and mount this production as part of the Melbourne 1 Act Play Festival at The Butterfly Club. Combined with over 20 years of experience in the arts, they star and lead a cast of five strong performers who left the audience continually laughing at the absurd songs, which are all too familiar with day-to-day life.

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From people with poor grammar skills, to back-stabbing friends, relationships, and religion  – it's all fair game when it comes to realising how much people suck.

The musical direction, led by David Youings is quite remarkable, he is equipped only with a keyboard while the cast are able to demonstrate a wide range of vocal techniques with expert precision – both as solo acts and chorus. Notably strong performances by Zac Alaimo and Sarahlouise Younger leave the audience wanting more as they demonstrate their vocal talents through a variety of musical styles. Harmonies with the larger numbers are overall quite impressive with a few minor slip-ups that only a trained ear would take notice, but arguably could be simply chalked up to opening night jitters.

With the potential to become something of a cult-classic, People Suck does well to deliver an entertaining piece of theatre.

The potential downside to this production however, and completely outside the cast’s control, is the nature of the parameters of the 1 Act Play Festival, which limits the use of props, costuming, but most importantly the size of the stage. Unfortunately, the nature of The Butterfly Club’s design means that if you have a rather full-house audience, you may be seated in areas where you cannot fully see the stage or the actors – particularly if they sit down at the front of the stage and you have a notably taller person seated in front of you. This aside however, the cast does well to utilise the cramped conditions to their full potential and fill the room with their explosive energies.

Overall, People Suck: A Musical Airing of Grievances is an amazing performance that has the potential to become something much larger than it currently is. Complete with witty lyrics and adapting the language of the play to make a unique Australian experience, the Salty Theatre production has landed in Melbourne with their feet running as they look to make a very strong successor to the original production in Toronto.

Rating: 4 stars ★★★★★

People Suck: A Musical Airing of Grievances
Presented by Salty Theatre 
Musical direction: David Youings
Choreography: Brendy Ford
Cast: Zac Alaimo, Tim Lancaster, Georgie Potter, Ashley Taylor and Sarahlouise Younger

11-16 March 2019
The Butterfly Club, Melbourne 

Devon Cartwright

Wednesday 13 March, 2019

About the author

Devon is a freelance theatre critic, director, and event manager based in Melbourne with network connections in Brisbane and Sydney, as well as internationally across Canada, the US, and Europe. He holds an Advanced Diploma in Music Theatre Performance from St Clair College in Windsor Canada, and a Bachelor of Arts in Theatre Studies from the Rose Bruford College of Theatre and Drama in London UK; in addition to this, he studied on exchange with the University of Windsor (Communications, Media & Film) and Griffith University (Contemporary & Applied Theatre). Devon has been involved in the operations of venues across Australia including the Brisbane Powerhouse, Redland Performing Arts Centre in Queensland, Gasworks Arts Park in Melbourne, and most notably with Cirque du Soleil during their 2016-2017 Australian tour of Kooza.