If I had tried harder, I could have hated Snow White and the Seven Dollar Copayment. References to Fritzl aren’t clever, and aren’t funny. If resorting to stereotypes about Asian food and restaurants wasn’t bad enough (and it was), hideous vocal caricatures added literally nothing of worth to a production that ran too long anyway. Copayment Man didn’t need to accuse, and accuse only, an Asian cast member of being a communist from a culture with a sense of entitlement. No it’s not funny, or new, or interesting to make stereotypical men behave like stereotypical women. On all these counts, fuck you.
There are also the standard complaints about punchlines in the middle of sketches, a cast that didn’t seem wholly comfortable with comic dialogue, sketches generally running too long, sketches that just weren’t funny, and sketches that were just a lot of shitty puns delivered with milk and water smiles.
But I actually enjoyed this year’s Med Revue. I think it was trying to be better.
This Disney pastiche had a beautiful kindness that was distinct from its predecessors’ shitty, uninspired and oppressively sexist (and racist and homophobic) cynicism. And though Copayment was aggressively unpleasant at times, this gentleness meant I didn’t want to dislike the show.
The musical parodies are solid. Lyrics were sometimes dull, but every time the incredibly capable cast began to sing and dance, the spectacle flattened any possible complaints about generic words. Further, Do You Believe In Magic and We’re in the Way proved that you can have in-house humour, and it doesn’t have to suck. Sketch highlights included Sea-word Shell, Copayment Man, Nobody Expects and just the line “I’d rather slay dragon than pussies – Wahey.” Unintended highlights include Dracula trying to deliver a less-good punchline over fading lights and audience laughter, Copayment Man trying, in slow motion to pick up his cape under partial darkness, Copayment Man trying to hide in a bin under partial darkness, and Copayment Man.
The Seven Dollar Copayment, unlike its predecessors, feels like it has heart. The directors should be proud; this show has clearly been thought about, and this enables a very talented cast of performers to play to their strengths. The result was good.
Med Revue still has a long way to go, but Copayment demonstrated that it might actually get there.