Review: People Suck: A Musical Airing of Grievances

6 June 2019

If you’ve ever sat through a really long rant from a mate because their date flaked out on them or someone stole their lunch at the office, you would already have a sense of what People Suck: A Musical Airing of Grievances is about. It is an hour-long song cycle with an indisputable premise: all the ways people suck. With its catchy melodies and strong vocal performance, the cast takes you through jealous bridesmaids, anti-vaxxers, the different types of annoying people at your office and many more.

The musical starts off with a teacher telling her young, impressionable students what assholes are and how they tend to succeed in life in spite of being assholes. This kicks off a moral panic in the children as they delve into the different ways people suck. Notable performances include a phrase that I will now be incorporating into my everyday speech, “where the hell is Darwin when you need him?” and a tightly worded attack on people who disregard basic grammar rules that would put Hamilton to shame (sorry Lin Manuel Miranda!). It is quirky, fun and tackles more serious subject matters like the hypocrisy in religion and the idea that religion is better than the other with the tagline: “my God’s dick is bigger than your God’s dick”. It could come off as offensive, but as they explained in the beginning of the show, some opinions expressed are meant to offend.

The show winds down with a ballad whose premise I struggled to figure out and is written like a first year’s creative writing assignment. It’s definitely not the best song of the cycle and reminded me too much of the time I wrote something similar for CWRI10001 but the vocal performance was really impressive. The show ends with a “moral of the story” from the cast: we are all assholes in an asshole world. We might not be able to control how much other people suck, but we can try our best to suck less, be a decent human.

People Suck is full of potential and showcases both the talent of the cast and musical accompaniment. However, The Butterfly Club has a rather small stage, which, coupled with the parameters of the 1 Act Play Festivals, makes the show feel particularly cramped when the full cast is on stage. The venue’s acoustics also drowns out some of the harmonies and the vocals of the male leads. It is a wildly entertaining hour-long reminder that people are the absolute worst sometimes, and is bound to be a hit.

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