If you are hoping to find your comrades in arms and chant the internationale alongside like-minded people I regret to inform you that you will be disappointed. If, however, you are looking to be entertained with borderline dad jokes and vague references to historical events, you, my friend, are in for a treat.
However much Sondheim may despise hummable melodies it cannot be denied that this is memorable
Written and directed by Liv Burton, Communism: The Musical revolves around Karl, son of Mildron the Destroyer, who is appointed by his mother on her deathbed to fight capitalism with the power of communism. Unfortunately, Mildred dies before she is able to explain the concept to Karl and hilarity ensues. Together with his best friends, Emily and Max, they fight the good fight against capitalism which rules their hometown, Dollaropolis.
The music, arranged by Chris Holloway, is simple but catchy and it is hard not to sing along. Worth mentioning is the set; made out of brightly coloured cardboard, carried onstage by ASM’s breaking the fourth wall and giving the show a Brechtian feel. The costumes more often than not employ various historical references including WWII and the French Revolution.
The characters are exaggerated, which works with the style of the show. They frequently break out of their cheerful persona to satirise the traditional musical form. A good example of this is the song, The Girlfriend, in which Emily describes the usual dilemma female characters face as the voice of reason not being listened to. The story loses it structure towards the end and the resolution is sorely lacking. The final number, The Chosen One, is confusing because whilst the text hints at some moral to take away from the show what it is meant to be is unclear. ‘You probably thought this show was political commentary’ read the lyrics before they move on to wrapping up Karl’s journey through the story.
Although the finale is unclear and the story ends abruptly much can be forgiven for the value of good entertainment this show provides along with music you can hum to. However much Sondheim may despise hummable melodies it cannot be denied that this is memorable and I am still humming along to The Ballad of Mildred The Destroyer.