Tuesday, 18 September 2018

Fuckboys: The Musical - Musical Review

What: Fuckboys - The Musical
When: 18 - 23 September 2018
Where: Ballroom, The Lithuanian Club
Written and directed by: Savannah Pederson
Composition and music direction by: Nishaa Carson
Performed by: Brittany Bennett, Glenn Lorandeau, Alexander Mrazek, Maeghin Mueller, Savannah Pederson, Erin Robere, Kasea Seabrook and John Sparling
Alexander Mrazek, Kasea Seabrook, Maeghin Meuller, and Savannah Pederson
Fuckboys: The Musical has come all the way from Orlando, Florida to entertain us this year at the Melbourne Fringe Festival. Playing in the Ballroom at The Lithuanian Club, the show is a brief scream of frustration about the state of modern romance before settling into a tender homage to love, respect, and facing up to whatever life throws your way.

There are a couple of things Americans do really well and Fuckboys brings us two of their greatest strengths - musicals and ensemble friend comedies. Conceived by Pederson after a bad breakup, Fuckboys centres around a group of 4 female friends who gather once a week for karaoke night at the local bar. This ritual is a little foreign to us in Australia (although there are pubs which thrive on this culture), but North Americans love karaoke which is probably why they are so good at making musicals.

Regardless, we are no strangers to pub culture and the four women cover a wonderful range of stereoptypes. Pederson is heartbroken and drowning her sorrows in bottomless bottles of gin, Mueller plays the wisecracking commitmentphobe, Bennett is the hard core career worman, and Seabrook is the all-American sweetheart.

All four women have had their share of dealings with what they call the 'fuckboy'. The stereotype described, again, doesn't quite fit Australia - I don't know any men under the age of 60 who wear socks with sliders - but it is easy to get the point. Fuckboys lie to get what they want, they don't consider your feelings, they check out other women whilst they are with you, etc. If you are man beware, you will feel very uncomfortable in the first 10 minutes, but if you can get through that you can use the rest of the show to prove to your lady just how wonderful you are by comparing yourself to the heros of the show (Mrazek and Lorandeau). Robere gives us a beautiful cameo to demonstrate a fuckboy, or as we Aussie chicks would call him - a sleaze bag.

Everyone in the show is a great singer and whilst their voices are still in development, there is no pitchiness, they all have great vocal ranges, and there are some really lovely harmonies going on. There is even a surprise song by Mrazek which is as beautiful as the relationship secretly developing between his character (the bartender) and Seabrook's.

Pederson is the real focal point of the show and her acting skills are as accomplished as her writing skills. Drowning her sorrows nightly, she finally receives therapy from a very unlikely source and finds a way to move forward. Meanwhile Bennett finds her life plan knocked off kilter and Meuller is the consumate clown, choofing her way through an Adele fixation.

Pederson and Carson have created a fun show with a wonderful balance of ballads, angry tirades, and upbeat singalongs to create a complex emotional journey through the complex world of being a single woman in the dating world today. Whilst I don't think this particular story can be expanded, I can definitely see the music going on to a bigger project with more support and main stage presentation.

I really enjoyed Fuckboys: The Musical. It has a late time slot (10:30pm) but it is a great way to finish an evening of Hub fringe going. It has the energy to get you going at the start and settles into a really great mindset which is positive and empowering without actually trying to provide a fairytale ending.

3.5 Stars

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