For everyone who loves Twilight, The Hunger Games, Divergent and the host of other wildly popular YA trilogies and series comes Every Young Adult Novel Ever: The Musical, a charming, self-aware, little semi-improvised bit of fun playing at this year’s Toronto Fringe Festival.
The conceit of the piece is exactly what it sounds like – in the vein Scary Movie, it riffs on every overused trope of Young Adult fantasy novels (with actual riffs, because music!). It’s a light and loving sort of critique, meant for fellow fans to roll their eyes with amused forbearance at the ongoing shenanigans of their favorite genre. The music, though simple and straightforward, gives the idea some flair and keeps the piece traipsing merrily along.
Both Monet Comeau and Christian Hodge (co-writers, directors, and performers) sing and banter through the show, which really would have been better with a live audience taking every minor barb extremely personally. I hope the duo have the chance to make that happen soon. There’s a certain sharing — the same reason people cosplay and go to BravoCon and all the rest of it, the joy of nerding out with the other nerds nerding nerdily — that’s missing here, though the show overall is perfectly pleasing without it. Its easy to see, though, how the dynamic duo could preside over an absolutely wild night of performance with butts in the seats and beers in their hands. By the time things get a little gay in Act III, I think you’ll certainly know what I mean.
It struck me as I watched that an audience member wouldn’t actually need to have seen or watched the books or films references to get most of the jokes, as long as they’d read or watched any of the many, many, books or films aimed at teens in the past 30-odd years at least. The John Hughes movies work just as well with the materials as the various fantasy epics, even if the haircuts are a bit different. Comeau and Hodge have been clever about glossing the concepts before skewering them, which makes this a much more “all-ages” show than it might seem, though some of the language is a little racy.
My only complaint with this happy bit of fluff, honestly, is that the sound balance is completely off in a way that would also be an issue in a live theatre: Comeau is playing to the last row, and Hodge seems to be mentioning his lines to his microphone in passing (a situation that gets even more pronounced during the songs, and which they should get ironed out). But overall Every Young Adult Novel Ever: The Musical is a fun Fringe offering, minor quibbles aside, and a perfect teen Fringe offering for those who have aged out of FringeKids but are still looking for a playful offering.
- Every Young Adult Novel Ever: The Musical is playing on-demand at the Virtual 2021 Toronto Fringe Festival.
- Purchase a $5 Membership to access the On-Demand programming on the Fringe website, then Pay What You Can to each show as you go, with the suggested price of $13 per show.
- Memberships can be purchased here. View the virtual on-demand show listings here.
- Accessibility notes:
- On-Demand shows: videos are closed captioned, transcripts are available for all audio content, documents are screen-reader friendly, and all digital images are provided with alternative text descriptions. These access supplements have been generated by the company and reviewed by the Festival. They may vary slightly from company to company.
- Fringe Primetime presentations will feature Auto-Transcribed Captioning.
- Content warning: This show is not recommended for persons under 14 years of age, and features mature language and sexual content.
- Read all of Mooney on Theatre’s 2021 Virtual Toronto Fringe Festival coverage here.