Move over Kinky Boots, there’s a new fun, fresh, high-energy musical in town: Deadmouse: The Musical. This play, which is destined to become one of the most successful of the 2015 Toronto Fringe Festival, has all of the makings of a great instant cult classic: a smart and wacky story, a strong and hummable score, and a controversy that brought it to the public’s attention before it even opened.
Written by Rafe Malach and Adam Jesin, Deadmouse: The Musical is a parodic story about a mouse named Joel Zimmermouse (Chris Baker) trying to make it as a house music DJ in a completely fictitious world where mice can communicate with humans and humans are prejudiced against mice. It’s complete fluff, but as long as you buy into the ground rules of the world, it’s a fun time.
Although there are certainly recognizable references in the names of the characters (David Gouda as a riff on David Guetta, Avicheese for Avicii, Cat for Kat von D, and of course the titular Deadmouse/Joel Zimmermouse for Deadmau5/Joel Zimmerman) the rest of the show exists completely in this world of its own. And as someone who was afraid that this play might be a real world house music origin story, I’m relieved this was the case.
In fact, there is very little house music in the play at all (except for in one pivotal scene). Instead, we get a top notch musical theatre score from Malach and Jesin. Just try to leave the theatre without wanting to rush out and buy the goofy “Love at First Click” or the beautiful ballad “My First Broken Heart.” (Seriously though, guys, if-and-when there’s a soundtrack link me to it so I can buy it).
And for musical theatre aficionados like me, you’ll be glad to hear that this play has serious, Jerry Mitchell-level choreography. The dancing never feels like it’s from a hokey community theatre production, which makes it stand out at the Fringe Festival.
The cast is filled with stellar triple threats, so it’s hard to point to just one or two performances I liked best. My favourite character was definitely Daniel Abrahamson’s goofy, sex-obsessed David Goudda. Abrahamson oozed enough charm to make his slimy character fun and appealing.
I also have to give a shout out to Sarah Horsman’s powerhouse vocals as Cat. I’m glad her character is there to keep the perversion of David Goudda in check in “Love at First Click.” She’s a badass with a heart of gold, and I can’t not love that character in a musical.
It is a little unfortunate that Deadmouse: The Musical is playing at the Al Green Theatre, which has been prone to a few technical difficulties for every show I’ve seen there, but I’m sure that we’ll see this show in a bigger and better venue in no time at all.
Is Deadmouse: The Musical groundbreaking or game changing? No. But it’s a damned good time at the theatre and worth well more than the $10 it’ll cost you to get in (if you can even get a ticket!).
- Deadmouse: The Musical is playing until July 11 at the Al Green Theatre. (750 Spadina Avenue)
- Tickets are $12 in advance, $10 at the door. The festival also offers a range of money-saving passes for serious Fringers.
- Tickets can be purchased online, by phone (416-966-1062), from the festival box office down Honest Ed’s Alley (581 Bloor West), or from the venue box office starting one hour before the peformance. Venue sales are cash-only.
- Be advised that Fringe performances always start exactly on time, and latecomers are never admitted. Set your watch to CBC time, and arrive a few minutes early to avoid disappointment.
- Content warning for some sexual language and for brief use of strobe lights.
July 05 at 01:15 PM
July 07 at 08:45 PM
July 09 at 09:15 PM
July 10 at 04:00 PM
July 11 at 12:30 PM