I never thought I’d see a demagorgon do the ‘Thriller’ dance, but it was absolute perfection.

Credit: Giulia Paratelli

Written by Jonathan Hogue and directed by Ellis Kerkhoven, Stranger Sings is one of the best satirical shows I’ve ever seen. The behind-the-scenes casts deserves just as much credit as the stage cast; without their impeccable staging, costume designs, choreography, and sound tech, the show would not be half as amazing. It is being performed at one of my favorite venues, The Vaults.

The stage was set to the max – board games cluttered the 80s furniture, Christmas lights lined the walls, Joyce’s famous alphabet was painted on the walls, and the slimy upside-down vines traced the walls and doorways. The music, sometimes hilariously parodying well-known theatre numbers, always has an undertone of 80s techno.

Credit: Giulia Paratelli

As soon as the cast ran on stage, I knew this show would be a hit. Their energy and enthusiasm are infectious, and the audience responded accordingly, clapping multiple times throughout the show. Plot-wise, Stranger Sings covers Season 1 with a few references to the other seasons. The show is bursting with clever one-liners commenting on the show’s plot holes, the lack of any parental guidance (save Joyce), and, of course, Barb’s injustice. However, the references don’t stop at the show – there are countless 80s, musical theatre, and pop culture references. What I really enjoyed is how they don’t shy away from obvious jokes. This could have led to a corny show, but because of the extreme talent of the cast, who would sometimes break the fourth wall, it had no trace of cheesiness.

The cast (half of which are recent graduates, making me all the more impressed with this production) is utterly phenomenal. Each performer gives their all 100 percent of the time. Even those who do not play multiple characters do the most to make the show that much more entertaining: for example, background dancing in camp 80s clothing.

While it’s extremely difficult to highlight any cast members, as they were all such strong performers, I must note Holly Sumpton’s (Joyce) and Georgia McElwee’s (Barb) astounding performances. Sumpton’s impression of Joyce/Winona Ryder is impeccable. I won’t fully spoil it (though it ends with her saying, “Give me my damn Emmy”), but she performed the stand-out number of the show. McElwee as Barb was justice enough, she plays her so superbly – not to mention, her voice is stunning.

Credit: Giulia Paratelli

I cannot emphasize the amount of unwavering energy brought to the stage for this performance. It is thoroughly entertaining – I was either smiling or laughing the entire time. It’s hilarious, camp, whimsical – I could go on and on, but really, you should just grab your bike and walkie talkie and cycle as quickly as possible to The Vaults to see this amazing show.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

{🎟 AD – PR invite – Tickets were gifted in exchange for an honest review}

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