Share House: The Musical

by | May 18, 2024

By Carissa Shale

‘Share House: The Musical’ is a delightful and delirious spectacle that speaks to the soul of an entire generation. This original production, featuring a feast of fresh Australian talent, is set within the context of Melbourne share house life, and blends humour, heart, and insight to showcase the trials of navigating adulthood, while still grappling with financial constraints. Through its’ engaging story and memorable characters, ‘Share House’ takes the audience on a relatable journey filled with laughter, love, and the occasional bad date, and reassures its’ audience that this lifestyle is in fact, not sad, but simply practical. It defies conventional aspirations of owning a home, or in the protagonist’s case, renting her own one-bedroom apartment, and presents share houses as a viable and even desirable option for the real estate challenged. Living in a share house might just be the modern Australian Dream!

It’s impossible not to fall in love with the show’s familiar protagonist, Lucy; a quirky, lost soul, trying to find her way through life, cheerfully navigating a grim relationship with mental health, and an even more confusing and often toxic friendship with her long-term house mate and school friend. Brought to life by writer and comedian extraordinaire, Jude Perl, Lucy is someone we know, someone we are or some we have been. In Lucy, Perl crafts a complexly layered character that epitomises the true millennial experience felt by many.

Lucy’s oldest friend, Jane, is a particular, pessimistic, perfectionist, who represents the voice inside all of our heads, relentlessly feeding us negative self-talk. Isabelle Davis’ sarcastic and blunt delivery is both amusing and cutting to watch. Contrastingly, their new roommate, Alice, played by Anita Mei La Terra, is a ray of sunshine who exudes positivity, even during the most unpleasant and banal of tasks, including cleaning the toilet. Alice’s blissful optimism immediately clashes with chronically gloomy Jane.

With these three conflicting characters living in such close proximity, drama and crazy escapades ensue. Through their exploration of the struggles and challenges faced by young people across the country, the actors provide a realistic snapshot of life in a share house, celebrating the unique dynamics and hilarious adventures that accompany communal living. Perl, Davis and La Terra’s talent is a pleasure to behold, as these triple threat performers bounce off each other, and harmonise with richness, while also having their moment to shine as individuals. Vocally, their talents are on par, showcasing a remarkable level of skill and proficiency across the board.

The production features a lush musical score and memorable melodies partnered with touching, ingenious and quick-witted lyrics that are guaranteed hits to add to your shower playlist (perfect ballads and bops to serenade your housemates while they wait for their turn to use the bathroom).

Each song is purposeful, pushing the narrative further, while amusingly exploring the characters inner motives. The musical score is brought to life by a dynamic 15-piece orchestra, expertly led by conductor, songwriter and musical director, Brendan Tsui. It is refreshing to see the orchestra situated on stage, allowing the audience to appreciate the skills and talents of the instrumentalists, who are clearly working with no room for error. On occasion, the musicians additionally act as small supporting characters that provide comic relief while embellishing the plot. However, at times, the sound levels could be adjusted, as the volume of the orchestra occasionally overpowers the singers, making it difficult to appreciate the quick and witty lyrics.

The minimalistic set is typical of your average share house; a cosy couch decorated with a homely knitted blanket, a solitary house plant, and a collection of multi-purpose milk crates acting as coffee tables, bookshelves and anything in between. The simplicity of the set adds a level of sophistication to the performance, with the milk crates being creatively used as transformative objects that become instrumental to the establishment of location, action and plot.

My largest criticism of this production is its’ extremely limited season with its’ final performance being 19 May 2024. If you haven’t booked already, call your house mates urgently and get your tickets before it’s too late!

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