Divorce the Musical! is a mixed bag, with its share of irritations and redeeming qualities. It’s interesting to note that it was directed by rising star of the Australian comedy circuit, Joel Creasey. There’s more than a few hints of his comedic style evident in Rusciano’s performance, which only bodes well going forward. It must be said, though, that as a relative newcomer to the stand-up comedy scene, Rusciano still has plenty to refine about her act. To see this show is to endure the shrill tones of shrieking diva for around an hour. Rusciano’s ear-splitting, overly-aggressive delivery occasionally grates and, while her flamboyance obviously accounts for a large portion of her appeal, she ought to dial it a back a little bit.
By contrast, the show’s musical interludes provide a more fitting platform for Rusciano to unleash her voice. It’s debatable whether Divorce the Musical! needs to be a musical at all, but it’d be a shocking waste to not have Rusciano, a former Australian Idol contestant, showcase her exceptional vocal talents.
It’s the core concept of Divorce the Musical! that really bears discussion, though. On the one hand you can’t begrudge Rusciano for talking about such a significant time in her life, particularly with such amazing honesty. Commendably, without a second of trepidation, she lays everything bare. The side-effect of talking all things separation, though, is that it invites an excess of sympathy.
Divorce the Musical! isn’t a pity-party – far from it – but you can’t help but feel bad for Rusciano. Her tale is bound to affect people to varying degrees, but it’s hard to laugh when your heart bleeds for the performer. It’s not necessarily any lack of comedic prowess on Rusicano’s part that hurts the show, just the simple fact that divorce is tricky. At least a sweet, feel-good finale ensures Divorce the Musical! ends on a good note.
Divorce the Musical! will certainly please Rusciano’s followers. However, anyone outside her demographic will likely emerge from Trades Hall not with a smile from ear to ear, but rather a long list of talking points.
BY NICK MASON