Review: The Worst People (Gryphon Theatre)
Updated: Jun 2, 2022
"Urgh, they are the absolute worst." Most of us have probably uttered these words at some point, not necessarily about the worst people in history, but about the everyday people who make life a little bit worse. Red Velvet Rhinoceros's comedy sketch show gives us a parade and a taste of all the worst kind of people we encounter, with a nice bit of ukulele playing thrown in.
An when I say "we", I mean exactly the kind of people who come are likely to come to a show like this, people similar to writers and performers Claudia Richards and Katja Romanski. Some of the worst people in question are homophobic parents, haughty customers, and rape apologists. Of course the show has a superiority complex that can be grating depending on your perspective, these are people who are easy to hate and we see little more than caricatures in their portrayal, but Richards and Romanski are brimming with charisma throughout. Touches such as the transitions in which they bumblingly communicate about the next scene without being understandable to the audience demonstrate both their on stage chemistry and their discipline as performers.
The scenes themselves rise and dip in creativity. One scene uses sock puppets and a David Attenborough-esque narration to tell the story of a guy trying and failing to find a girl to spend the night with was a smart way to trivialise the pursuit and inject some humour into it. Another shows us a woman talking to her management about being harassed at work and takes a subtle approach with relaying information naturally without the usual dumps of exposition. Others, such as the one featuring the homophobic mother, feel reused and are taking aim at an easy target.
The closest "The Worst People" gets to having an edge is in the final moments when they reference their show's flaws, in that they are "walking clichés". And yes, one could quite easily change the show's name to "Angry Millennials: Live!", and yes it is too aggressive and not insightful enough to encourage much depth of thought or convert any naysayers, but that's probably not what the show was written for and has some great moments with that in mind. Richards and Romanski may not be doing anything new, but for a like-minded audience it will serve as an entertaining evening. Three stars.
Whispers from the crowd:
"It was really lovely. There was a bit of current politics, a bit of feminism, a bit of LGBT, they covered a lot of ground."