Australia has long had a romantic attachment to the property market, but even the most astute forecasters might have missed the potential for a musical about realty.
Not Michael Dalley though. The man behind Vaudeville X, Intimate Apparel and Death in White Linen seems to have a knack for spotting the appeal in the most unlikely of industries.
One of the stars of his musical satire of our national obsession with the property market, Urban Display Suite, agrees.
“Michael is very incisive. He finds things we haven’t really thought about and then milks it for all it’s worth with witty songs,” performer Lyall Brooks (pictured) said.
“Even people who don’t think they’re part of that crowd — I mean, I’m living in a house rent-free — but you know what, this show is as pertinent to me as to your average property investor.”
Following seasons at the 2011 Adelaide Cabaret Festival and Melbourne’s 45 Downstairs, the show is now being given a return season at the Melbourne Theatre Company’s Lawler Studio throughout January.
Brooks joins Dalley, Sharon Davis and Gabrielle Quin on stage as real estate agents, guiding the audience through a ‘virtual’ tour of the display home that represents a dream lifestyle to which we are all supposed to aspire, with numbers such as Shit Art of the Mornington Peninsula.
“We lampoon a part of our culture we can all relate to. You find yourself watching the show and simultaneously cringing and laughing at yourself,” Brooks said.
“We are still the lucky country and the financial crisis hasn’t really hit — we’re as obsessed with the property market as we were five, 10 years ago.”
When the show first opened at 45 Downstairs, Brooks said the first wave of people who came through were mainly the arts crowd before word spread to real estate professionals.
“Agents at the beginning would have offended looks on their faces at numbers like The White Collar Job for the Blue Collar Brain, but by the end they were holding the mirrors up to themselves and having a laugh, saying ‘We are idiots and don’t we love it’, ” Brooks said.
INFO: Urban Display Suite is now playing at MTC’s Lawler Theatre. Book at MTC box office on 03 8688 0800 or www.mtc.com.au