Wait… Musicals are cool again? Well, I was certainly ‘on hold’ through the entirety of this one, literally clutching my abdomen in laughter! No wonder this cleverly written, bright and catchy musical comedy has just taken out the award for Best Australian Short Film at Sydney’s Flickerfest – but here’s a couple more reasons why you too should jump on the ‘On Hold’ train…
‘On Hold’ (2018) is a hilarious, true-to-the-bone tale that sums up the modern, dead-end workplace and the employees within it to an absolute T. It centres around 28-year-old Gabby Stencil, a self-confessed “dreamer who’s despising” who attempts to convince herself to chase her dream of being a composer.
The whole characterisation of the comedy makes it easily relatable, depicting the hyper-normal individuals that are in every office: the 40-something-year-old woman who works to escape her kids, the edgy mumble-rap loving teen, and most importantly the protagonist Gabby – a portrait of those who have aspirational dreams that slowly fizzle into “sweet domesticity” (a.k.a. nothingness). Off the back of her lead role in ‘On Hold’, actor Madeleine Jones recently won an acclaimed Sydney Theatre Award, drawing even more attention to the surprising little genre-flipper.
I was lucky enough to be there for the premiere of this spectacular short film, and before it had even begun, a rousing applause erupted in the theatre. This level of noise was only the beginning; ‘On Hold’ is filled with knee-slapping punch lines and hilarious stereotyping that has a poke at everyone’s dark side. Rounds of applause followed each hilarious scene, indicative of just how much the audience valued the experience.
Vulgar language, blunt and brutal one liners and crude imagery are all part and parcel of what makes the film so unique and ambitious. One could say its not your typical musical, and this is a good thing. To see a contemporary satirical take on office life in musical format is rare, and rare is exactly the spice film-loving Aussie’s need!
Speaking before the screening, the makers of the film told of how they strived to show a different side to musicals, a revolution of sorts. Take a bow Jake Nielsen and Matthew Predny, you’ve gone and done it. Bravo to the whole team behind ‘On Hold’ for making musicals cool again! And sorry La La Land.