Review by Lucy Lucas You’re a Catch! Why Are You Single? is a bright and chirpy patchwork of stories, told with heart, humour and perfect pitch.
I am convinced Theatre Works is a little bit haunted, there always seems to be a slightly odd energy pervading the foyer, despite it being right in the southside hub of live arts. However, no amount of uncanny vibes could dampen this colourful explosion of high-energy delight. It was honestly just so much fun – every person on stage looks like they are having the time of their lives and the cheeky joy is infectious.
Billed as a song cycle, You’re a Catch! is a series of monologues and original songs jamming on the theme of singledom in the twenty-first century. Think Love Actually, He’s Just Not That into You or (God forbid) Valentine’s Day. Like these rom-com classics You’re a Catch! is funny, well-written and keeps to the lighter side of the human experience. But this isn’t a flaw – this is a show that knows what it’s doing and does it very, very well.
The core of You’re a Catch! is its incredible music. Sarah Wynen is a fabulous lyricist with a talent for clever rhymes and an ability to make tried and tested musical theatre structures fresh and funny. No two songs are the same and we get just the right balance of ballad and bop. The entire cast is brilliant, though it would have been lovely to see some age diversity considering the content. Vocally the ensemble is exquisite, something that is not always a given in independent theatre, allowing the audience to relax into some truly breath-taking and exciting arrangements. Emily Jacker-Lawrence and Bek Schilling are particular standouts, commanding attention in both the solo and group numbers.
Simon McWilliam’s choreography is understated yet fantastic fun. All design elements have been integrated harmoniously, the end result being a highly polished work ready for mainstream stages.
I did feel there was a slight weakness in the throughline – some of the song and monologues’ links to singledom were very tenuous. Not that I would have had them cut, more that it felt the title and/or marketing didn’t serve the reality of the line-up – modern dating, relationships and different types of love all feature but the overall experience of being single wasn’t the focus for me. I guess I take issue with a musical that is about being single that focuses solely on dating and love (or lack thereof) – there are aspects of the single experience that are not about trying to become un-single; friendship, self-love, independence, vocation, family etc. You’re a Catch! definitely looks at being single, but only as it relates to the dating scene and love.
Regardless of my nit-picking around the theme/title You’re a Catch! Why Are You Single? is a superbly made musical work that seamlessly blends spoken word, song and dance to explore what it means to search for meaningful connection in the modern world.