The hungry ensemble of Vegans featured an omnivore, carnivore, herbivore and avoid-gluten-at-all-costs-vore. They welcomed the audience with some classic grapevines and parodies, and the next two hours explored the current “humble Aussie diet” as under threat. The cast used various skits and warm audience interaction to debate topics of dietary requirements, barista bothers, and a slight vengeance for vegan vibrancy.
The highlights included a smorgasbord of colourful accents by all cast members and a solid nod to the sheer amount of content covered through word play, rhyming, and impressive syllabic pattern matching through parody. Though the repetition of said clever lines would have benefitted from variance and scene sharpening, the more tender moments, as each cast member shared a food story on migration or a diabetic revelation, provided nice light to contrast the shade of the show’s otherwise tongue-in-cheek.
A special mention goes to Jayke Melling, playing ‘Gluten Free III’ for his energy and consistency throughout the show as a well-meaning and amiable “cereal killer”.
The performance did reveal some under-rehearsed elements that could be improved upon with choreographic unison, character development, and musical diction.
Despite some technical difficulties the relaxed cast, led by the accomplished Matt Byrne, got back on track with an ease not often seen in theatre. His unique confidence could be fleshed out with more audience interaction to highlight his cabaret skills.
Simple, yet effective, lighting was implemented with block colour stage washes and transition music strewn throughout. Good use of the space and set, morphing into a BBQ or takeaway drive-thru was a nice touch to the show’s overall commentary.
In the first week of a month-long production, it can be assumed that technical and comic timing kinks may be ironed out, though given the very relaxed nature of this production, the venue space, and the cast’s offhand interactions with the front of house and technical crew, each showing of Vegans may be up to chance.
With frequent smatterings of laughter, of shock, and genuine amusement, Vegans may entice an audience with similar frustrations on diet culture or cheeky taste in humour. The irreverent nature of this show, including many innuendos, is not for all tastes but if you’re a brave vegan or compatriot to the ever-changing diet climate, this may just be the show for you.
Vegans certainly grieves the “humble Aussie diet” and probes at the relevant sociopolitical topics facing all who eat food today.
Reviewed performance: 13 February 2020