Excess drama and flair in this nifty little Jagged pill

THEATER
Little shredded pill ★★★½
Comedy Theater from January 16

Musical by Alanis Morissette Little shredded pill opened on Sunday night – to a maniacal and bewildered crowd at Melbourne’s Comedy Theater – amid an unchecked outbreak of Omicron that continues to wreak havoc on Melbourne’s hospitality and entertainment industries.

Mary Jane (Natalie Bassingthwaighte) is nursing an addiction; her husband Steve (Tim Draxl) works insane hours as a lawyer.Credit:Daniel Boud

Commercial productions have been particularly affected by the current wave. Large company faces high chance of workers being struck down with COVID – red Mill was canceled mid-show recently for this reason – and putting butts on the seats as case numbers soar is a tough one when avoiding large indoor gatherings seems like a reasonable precaution.

Natalie Bassingthwaighte and Emily Nkomo.

Natalie Bassingthwaighte and Emily Nkomo.Credit:Daniel Boud

With so much of the city in some kind of Clayton lockdown, the show must go on. Moreover, it is Alanis Morissette we are talking about. His music has staying power.

Nobody turned the angst and self-conscious irony of the ’90s into such bright, effervescent, upbeat bangers as Morissette. Her distinctive sound became so popular that she attracted many imitators, and her ubiquity in her heyday even earned her a tongue-in-cheek role on screen, playing God in the comedy film. Dogma (1999).

Promising material for a musical jukebox, do you think, but Little shredded pill does more than push a few nostalgia buttons. It also avoids the mistakes of similar shows such as the musical Green Day american idiot, which was essentially a gig torpedoed by an undercooked script.

Little shredded pill shares with the Green Day musical a certain overzealousness in tackling as many serious social issues as possible. Diablo Cody (United States of Tara) wrote a complete play – a carefully constructed soap opera, really, that deals with heavy themes with relative levity.

The show follows the American Healy family whose lives are impacted by an array of burning issues.