Words: Elodie Marriott
What would happen if the Breakfast Club got stuck in a public toilet rather than in detention? And what if they were really good at singing? Public the Musical explores what happens when four people, with seemingly nothing in common, are forced to confront their differing beliefs. Small talk turns into a group therapy session, and they discuss everything from their favourite biscuit, to how it feels to be misgendered.
Within an hour, the show manages to talk broadly about topics like the queer experience, the role of an ally, mental health, and fears concerning climate change. The characters are distinctive and memorable, with bitingly witty dialogue that leans towards caricature, particularly for Annabel Marlow’s private school girl, who is genuinely worried for the environment, but can’t give up her vape.
Yet far from being superficial, it is through the engaging pop/rock songs that each character reveals their vulnerability, and excellent vocal talent, making them relatable and appealing to the audience. Their dynamic as a group is complex and noticeably shifts depending on who’s interacting within the confined space of the bathroom.
Public the Musical is fun, heartfelt, and succeeds in bringing entertaining characters to life within a short runtime. Turning guarded loneliness into compassion, the show encourages us to find human connection in unlikely places.
PUBLIC – The Musical
Pleasance Courtyard, Pleasance Two
10-20, 22-28 Aug