For the life of me, THE LIFE OF US made me think: Home & Away, The Musical.
A soap opera in microcosm, THE LIFE OF US is a four-hander of a pair of overseas crossed lovers, a best friend and an impaired parent.
Ellie and Charlie have been carrying on a long distance relationship for months since Charlie left for London to pursue a musical career with his mate and manager, Mike.
The singer song writer has a simmering success, a career set to boil as long as he stays in the UK.
He yearns for Ellie to join him, even for just a few days, but she is duty bound to stay in Sydney to care for her Alzheimer’s affected mother, Grace.
And so they are relegated to a Skype romance as the months roll on.
Technology, however, cannot quell the tyranny of distance and absence turns into an abscess, instead of making the heart grow fonder, Ellie’s heart founders, resulting in a fling.
Written by Ashleigh Taylor and Ben Bennett with music and lyrics by Bennett, THE LIFE OF US stars Taylor and Bennett as Ellie and Charlie in a semi-autobiographical pop song soap of true love, technology, and the travails of following dreams and being bound by duty.
A fourteen song set of pop and power ballads supports a brisk ninety minute no interval show with breezy performances from the leads, who sing many tunes into screens and phones – certainly making it a true Millennial musical.
Christian Charisiou is cheeky and charismatic as Charlie’s bestie, Mike, and Pippa Grandison brings a particularly poignant gravitas as Grace. Her solo, Grace’s Song is a highlight of the show, the mature modulation and phrasing a rich contrast to the younger timbres.
No fuss direction by Neil Gooding keeps THE LIFE OF US lively in the cluttered but practically precise set conceived by Lauren Peters.