Jude Perl dances along the line between comedy and Serious Art, and it’s a great jig to watch. Roommates: The Musical is a one-woman show, the stage simply set with a grand piano, a couch, and a broom. The rest of the story is told through lyrical genius.
Perl inhabites three different characters: herself, an extreme pessimist, and an extreme optimist. Cohabitation is impossible with the three, and through her lyrics Jude jumps into the skin of each character, which is where the pure comedy lies.
Everyone has at some point met an overly positive person and just wanted to shake them and shout ‘HOW?!’, and Jude has put this universal feeling to song. As well as the equal need to shake a permanently negative person and show them a nice rainbow or sunset to prove there’s beauty in the world.
The opening song of Roommates immediately had me clutching my sides, repeating ‘It’s not sad, it’s practical’ about the situation of still living in a sharehouse at 35 years old.
Roommates doesn’t exist simply to make you laugh — it’s also going to punch you squarely in the emotions. The realisation that the sharehouse is actually yourself was too meta for me to handle, with the balance of your own optimism/realism/insecurity sabotaging your Tinder dates a Very Real Thing.
Perl’s comedy style perfectly mixes what appears as stream-of-conscious thoughts alongside perfectly sculpted songs sung by one of the most charming voices ’ve heard in a long while. She’s a perfect triple threat — singing, comedy and acting. Just wait until you see her dance, though.
The night I went I was lucky enough to see a one-night-only special of a song constructed of other people’s nightmare housemate stories (god knows I have a few of my own to add if the tune has a sequel). Who knows, maybe if you shout loud enough for an encore, Perl will play it again.
Jasmin Ashton is a designer, marketer and freelance writer from Melbourne who has a lot of feelings about everything. Find them at @Jasmanna.