Trummp the Musical: A Huuuge Deal. Newfoundland’s Take on the American President Through An Original Show
As I was walking into the Arts and Culture Centre, I was a bit skeptical as to what I was about to see. It was hard to wrap my head around the thought of how a musical about President Trump’s “unique” governing, could be portrayed as light and funny. I took my seat in the almost sold out theatre- with just a few seats left in the balcony, and with an open mind, braced myself for the show.
The show began with sibling duo Suzy and Max Free-Star (played by Peter A. MacDonald and Miranda MacDonald) sitting on a couch watching the results of the presidential election. Soon, we as an audience are taken on an adventure when it is announced that Trummp is president (unfortunately familiar). The siblings begin to work as interns at the White House, and they get to see what it is really like in the Oval Office. Surrounded by members of the cabinet, including Vice President Phence (Kyle McDavid), Secretary of Defence (Justin Nurse), Press Secretary Nelly Anne (Amy Wilson), and Minister of Education (Leslie Stuckless), Suzy and Max both realize that this government is a disaster. Fighting off ideas of “The Wall of Trummp”, and a Nuclear attack, Suzy and Max have to rally the other interns to try to stop the president from making America...not so great.
Peter A MacDonald, and Spencer Fitzgerald wrote this original musical and the show is a true testament to their talent. One of my favourite things about the show was its witty writing and very catchy music that had many audience members next to me dancing in their seats. The content in this show was seamless, and very easy to follow, making it relaxing and enjoyable. It was incredible to see local artists like Peter and Spencer spreading their talent in this way, and to have such a full audience there supporting it. At the end of the show, Peter and Ronalda MacDonald came on stage to congratulate the boys, and I am glad they were recognized for all of their hard work.
There were a few stand out moments in the show. First, is the lighting. I found myself at moments in awe of the lighting design on stage. Especially in numbers like “The Colours of Fun” and “Conspiracy Theory”, I felt that the lighting design enhanced the experience both on stage, and in the audience. The actors also used flashlights and phones to light up their faces during darker scenes, which was a clever and different way to manipulate light on stage. This, along with the beautiful set pieces that flowed around like a choreographed dance, definitely set the mood and atmosphere of the show.
Then, of course, was the acting. First, I would like to shout out both Miranda and Peter for such stunning performances. Of course, being siblings in real life helped them portray siblings on stage effortlessly, but regardless, both of these performers are so entertaining to watch and blend so well together. Miranda as Suzy was so radiant and bright, and Peter as Max was a powerhouse, as he usually is whenever he performs. This duo is indestructible. Taylor AuCoin gave a wonderful performance as President Trummp, and it was easy to tell he did his research and knew how to portray the President’s… interesting habits and movements. The moment Kyle McDavid came out as Phence, the whole audience busted their sides laughing, and I knew he would be a crowd-pleaser right away. Sarah Kattenbusch, Mackenzie Drover, and Jordan Coaker as the other interns alongside Max and Susie all gave a very intricate performance, each giving off different intern characters, all with very clear intent. The acting, dancing, and singing, as a whole was very enjoyable.
I really enjoyed the use of projections in the show, displaying tweets from the president, although I was a bit disheartened to be sitting in the balcony because I could not see or read any of the tweets that were shown along the top of the stage. I felt that the balcony was definitely missing out on some jokes because of this, as people were trying to bend down to see beside me. There was also a few moments when the performers were lost behind the level of the music, in which the audience lost jokes, or plot info. Besides the other few technical hitches that I expected to happen on an opening night show, and a hard to follow subplot with Peter MacDonald as a pizza man, which covered most transitions, I thought the performance itself was great, with lots of energy and passion on stage from the whole cast.
I still left wondering about the content. There were moments in the show that made the audience, and myself, a bit uneasy...but isn’t that what makes people think? In today’s politically polarizing world, it is always important to remember what is right and what is wrong, and I am pleased to say that Trummp the Musical delivers the right message to its audience: That Trump is a nightmare. Peter said it wonderfully as he closed the show; “Please keep speaking”. It is important to keep fighting for human rights, even if they don’t affect us directly here on our little island.
With a run time of two hours and twenty minutes, with a 15-minute intermission, this show is a wonderful way to support local art and think about all the things going on in our world. Get your tickets here.