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Review: Share House: The Musical at Arts Centre Melbourne

Updated: May 23

Review by Jesse Oey

Share House: The Musical is a brand-new Australian comedy musical, making its debut at Arts Centre Melbourne’s Fairfax Studio for a limited session. This ambitious, uplifting musical is the brainchild of Texas-born, Melbourne-based singer/songwriter/comedian Jude Perl, based on her award-winning 2018 solo show, Roommates:  The Musical.

Set in Melbourne’s inner northern suburbs, it takes us on a journey to navigate the hysterical highs and nefarious lows of platonic cohabitation, against the backdrop of post-COVID anxieties, political uncertainties, and the current housing crisis.

The story revolves around two childhood mates and long-term housemates: clumsy, likeable Lucy (Perl) and cynical, solitary Jane (Isabelle Davis). Although polar opposites in how they approach life’s mundanities, they seem content to continue their dysfunctional co-existence…

Until, out of financial necessity, they began searching for a third housemate, and found Alice (Anita Mei La Terra) – a cheerful eternal optimist, whose sunny disposition jarringly clashes with Jane’s bleak pessimism whilst simultaneously encouraging Lucy to look on the bright side of life.

Predictably, hilarity ensues.

Anchored on the electric chemistry between the three charismatic leads, the show provides a humorous meditation on the micro-conflicts of everyday life. Each character is believable and fully-developed, allowing the audience to relate to their imperfect, complex reactions to inconvenience.

The dysfunctional dynamic between Lucy and Jane – equal parts loving and cloying - feels universally familiar, making the story all the more accessible. The use of flashback sequences, strategic stage placements, and subtle conversational cues through songs like “I’m Just Trying to Help” and “She’ll Notice” allowed each character’s backstory and personal motivation to slowly unravel and enrich the narrative.

Show Director Desiree Munro’s gentle, cohesive worldbuilding, framed within a strategically-simple stage and lighting setup, moved the story along at a steady, considerate pace. Contemporary commentary on real estate pricing, the housing crisis, modern-day dating, and childhood hangups are brought to life through the outstanding original score, co-written by Perl and Musical Director Brendan Tsui, accompanied by a vibrant 15-piece orchestra.

Anita Mei La Terra’s performance in particular was an absolute joy to witness, with her earnest take on naïve, exceedingly-excitable Alice lighting up every scene she appears in.

A definite highlight was “How Do You Do It?” – a comical duet number in which Lucy, feeling newly inspired by Alice’s glass-half-full enthusiasm towards tedious house chores, asks for some pointers, to which Alice innocently responds, “I don’t know, I just feel good about stuff. Maybe try feeling good about stuff?”

Fresh and uplifting, with an intimate set, brilliantly endearing writing, and an important message about love and acceptance at its core, Share House: The Musical successfully transforms the humdrum into the extraordinary.

This impressive, memorable debut honestly felt like the start of something promising. It was such a thrill to witness Jude Perl dazzle, completely at ease in her element, leading a talented cast with soaring voices and incredible star power performing a show that deserves a home in much bigger stages.

I look forward to seeing this wonderful local production continue to flourish, reaching new audiences and impressing the masses with its luminescent sparkles of unbridled joy.

A truly memorable outing!

Image Credit: Nick Manuell


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