Three cheers for Turkey Dump

Musical a hit despite weak moments

Tuesday, April 7th, 2009

A scene from Turkey Dump

Shaun Ding

ON THE PHONE, IN A LETTER, INTERNET IS EVEN BETTER. Theatre Western had musical fun with the trials and tribulations of being a first year student in the entirely student produced, Turkey Dump.

This year’s Theatre Western original musical â€" entirely produced by students â€" was titled The Turkey Dump & Other Tales of University Life. The play begins at a setting in Elgin Hall during O-Week, where a soph running icebreaker exercises introduces the audience to some of the main characters, including Creepy Reed (an unctuous engineering student), Willy (a workaholic Harvard Med aspirant), the party-crazy Billy Slackhard, Jenny (a science student who also loves music) and Richard Wagner (a music student who is trying to maintain a long distance relationship with his girlfriend of five years).

The story follows the escapades of these and other students over the school year, touching on some of the common challenges faced by first-years, including balancing schoolwork with a social life, the importance of being sensitive to diversity, relationships and debates over the relative merits of the U.S. and UK versions of The Office.

A scene from Turkey Dump

The main issues in the show centred around two relationships: the first had to do with Richard and Jenny handling their ever-increasing feelings for each other while Jenny dated a creepy fourth year student and Richard recovered from his breakup with his girlfriend. The second involved Jenny and Grace, the lesbian long time “power-couple” and their break-up and reconciliation.

By far, the comedic highlight of the musical â€" at least as measured by the audience response â€" was the “Turkey Dump” song, in which Reed exhorted that Richard “fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck” Richard’s girlfriend on the Friday, Saturday and Sunday of the Thanksgiving weekend before dumping her on the Monday.

Other funny moments included some lampooning of university life. Billy had a satirical song about how a student’s “real” name is his/her student number. Also of note, was Richard’s music history prof’s introduction, in which she made it abundantly clear she was neither the students’ friend nor their confidante, but only their professor.

Musically, the play left something to be desired. Some of the tunes were catchy, but the backing relied too much on a bland, upbeat pop/rock metre. However, some highlights included some gorgeous unison vocal lines between Jenny and Grace and the funky jazzy blues guitar licks that were interspersed throughout.

That said, overall, Turkey Dump was a fresh and interesting look at university life. The comedy ranged from the crudely hilarious to the surprisingly witty. Unfortunately, the second act got bogged down by the multiple romantic conflicts and the sappy love songs that were used to explain them.

In the end, the musical reminded students of all the things that are great about university and the world of opportunity that greets every first year student here at Western.

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