The Education and Social Work revue, A Schoolbus Named Desire, had the most diverse cast of any university production I’ve seen. Only about half the performers were white, not everyone was cisgender, and nearly all the romantic skits featured same-sex pairings. Props should certainly be given to directors Ally Canas, Cameron Brown and Mollie Galvin for their diligence in this quarter.
This is the highest praise I can give the revue, which was on the whole poorly written and poorly executed. Most of the skits fell flat: shouting teachers are not amusing without a good script. Too often the cast seemed to be paying lip service to their mates in the crowd. One actor brought an audience member to the stage to give him an ‘award’ before promptly sending him back. This was seemingly for no reason other than that he was her boyfriend, as I was later informed.
Too many jokes had been done before. A gay man rattling off a list of ordinary tasks on his ‘Gay Agenda’ for the day is already a familiar gag from YouTube. A police officer blaming a woman for being burgled in a parody of victim-blaming is already a well-worn Tumblr joke.
The musical numbers were likewise pedestrian. Genuinely talented vocalists in the cast struggled with songs performed in a key unsuited to their range. The directors also made the distracting mistake of projecting the lyrics on the back wall: it’s not an “Achille’s heel”.
These flaws in content and execution might have been less glaring were it not for the dead air which filled the stage at the end of every skit. There was no music as the tediously long transitions took place.
The best moments were the simplest ones: a monologue in which Decartes cooks up his most famous quote, a man who asks a human Siri about his love life and receives mechanically brutal replies, a penguin who tries to act like a human on a blind date, and fails miserably. There were standout performances from Christina Nguyen and Anna Rowe.
The show had potential. It fell down on lack of rehearsal and oversight of the small details. More work and less play would have made for a far more engaging performance. Study hard, kids.