Making a show that is deliberately cringe worthy is not as easy as the creators of Wolf Creek The Musical seem to think. They tick a lot of the boxes, but at the end of the show I walked out feeling like my time had been pretty much wasted.
Yes Wolf Creek The Musical has shoddy set pieces and props, some of which is pointed out cheerily by the performances. The criticisms of the cardboard car even managed to wring a small unforced laugh from the otherwise awkward and uncomfortable crowd on Thursday night.
Yes the acting is over the top and the performers are clearly having a great time. Yes the musical is unabashedly unashamed of just how self-aware it is.
You can however tick all the boxes you want, if it’s not funny no amount of encouraging and desperate stares at the audience as you wait for them to laugh is going to bring out those chuckles.
It’s not all bad, co-writers and performers Demi Lardner (as male lead Ben) and James McCann (supplying the live music) are two of the strongest forces on the stage. Demi, as Ben, can be safely said to be the main cause of the few moments of genuine hilarity. McCann is charismatic and develops a fun relationship with the audience from the onset and his musical interludes and accompaniment are a strong point of the performance.
It’s great to see performers enjoying their work so much (and this show got some rave reviews at the 2013 Melbourne Fringe), so I wish them all the best for the rest of the festival.