The story, created by William Saroyan, takes place during the Second World War in small-town California and centres on young Homer. Too young to join his brothers on the front line, Homer has the task of deliveing the town’s telegrams. Including, that is, those carrying tragic news from the War Department.
MacDermot – who is best known as the composer of Hair – wrote a score made up of gospel, pop, swing and folk numbers and John Fulljames’ production includes a community chorus of 80 drawn from the local area, on top of the 13-strong professional cast which includes Brenda Edwards (We Will Rock You) and Jos Slovick (Spring Awakening).
The Human Comedy opened on 13 September 2010 and continues at the Young Vic until 18 September.
Michael Coveney on Whatsonstage.com (four stars) - “This sentimental, irresistible sung-through musical is a joyous anthology of gospel, blues, jitterbug, swing and ballad, and another triumph for the theatre’s ongoing collaboration with John Fulljames’ Opera Group, this time co-producing with the Watford Palace. Galt MacDermot may be a one-hit wonder for Hair, but this skilful, simple 1984 score - each number in turn leaving you wanting more - is a thorough delight, suggesting an American musical version of The Railway Children crossed with Thornton Wilder’s Our Town ... There’s a terrific eight-piece band led by Phil Bateman, a knock-out turn from Brenda Edwards and a great design by Jon Bausor. A stage full of coffins draped in the American flag has an eerie resonance, too.”
- Elizabeth Davis & Theo Bosanquet