'A Schoolbus Named Desire' left me yearning for the bell
The welfare of our children is indeed safe in the hands of the cast of A Schoolbus Named Desire.
Directed by Ally Canas, Cameron Cain, Mollie Galvin, and held in the Seymour Centre’s Reginald Theatre, the performance felt like an intimate inside joke for friends and family. One of the more impressive Revue names of the season, it was a solid attempt at matching last year’s dynamite title ‘Orange is the New Blackboard’. But this may be the extent of its wit.
The show executed some of the most wholesome theatre I have ever witnessed, and was certainly the most wholesome revue content ever. Minor political subtext, barely discernable punchlines, and a flinch with every swear word: it felt as if the revue had nothing really to say. The most evocative sentence an actor said was ‘Opal is cancelling free trips’. Boy did that, and only that, get my heart racing.
Most of the content was education and social work related, which allowed the perfect, but unfulfilled, opportunity for very passionate comedy. What was particularly disappointing was that, unlike faculties like commerce or med, there is not a single person who cannot relate to school-humour. And yet, ‘frustrated and overworked teachers’ was the only arc they pursued.
With a consistent narrative to weave the play together, attempts were made at developing really relatable characters. However, the lights would suddenly go out in these interludes, and the moments between skits gave you time to search for the joke that you clearly had missed.
The revue can be summated as an ill-fitting puzzle of missed opportunities; the lovely and well-meaning cast were not the scissors and craft glue that was necessary to bind it all together. Wholeheartedly, to the credit of the production was its diversity. Non-cis characters, racial diversity and couple scenes that hardly featured opposite-sex pairings was a refreshing and intentional approach to theatre. This, of all things, is what all other revues should definitely take note of.
Producers Meredith Apps and Andrew Edward and the entire cast were certainly hard working. Well-meaning, approachable, and clever; the performance gets an A+ for effort. But for comedy? Hmm, come see me after class…