The internet: a wonderful place, a hellish place, a place where you can find anything and everything you want. But it is also a place where unwanted things find you. In Connor Morel’s case, written by Connor Morel and directed by Casey Gould, A Lovely Day To Be Online is a rock-gig turned cabaret show about Morel’s internet incidents, infringements, and his overall thoughts on the online world.
With Connor Morel on the keyboard and guitar, accompanied by his bandmates Will Conway on the drums, and Kat Ades on the bass guitar, the trio combine forces to tell of the trials, tribulations, and trappings of the world wide web accompanied with cheeky smiles, cool vibes, and insanely catchy tunes.
Musically, I cannot fault A Lovely Day To Be Online. Every song has the potential to be a chart-topping hit with hooks that will stay with you long after you’ve left the theatre. Yes, they’re that good. Audibly, the sound wasn’t as clear, and it did make it hard to hear what Connor was singing sometimes. This is through no fault of the artists, just that Trades Hall’s Common Room is not built for music.
Connor shamelessly shares his love of the internet and throughout the show this carefree bliss is expressed in the title track ‘A Lovely Day To Be Online’ which I still can’t get out of my head, ‘Best Shit Ever’ where Connor goes further into his love of the internet but doesn’t hesitate to express how much he loves how it can bring people together, especially musicians in Tik-Tok duets.
This happiness however is short-lived. Changing tunes (pun intended), Connor then sings about his long-distance relationship with ‘FaceTime’. Long distance relationships are tough, but they’re even worse when you crave something more physical and substantial. With this mood shift, the spiral continues from venting about people being fake and the pressures of being perfect on Instagram with ‘It’s a Lie’, to the chilling modern day horror story of having your identity taken away from you while thinking you can outsmart a scammer in ‘I Got This (Under Control)’. Connor openly shares what he had learnt from his mistakes, so you don’t have to.
Admittedly, it was difficult to relate to Morel’s musings. While I adored his vocals, and his thoughtful lyrics, there was a lot that Morel shared that I didn’t agree with. But that’s because my experiences of the internet are more positive than anything else.
I met my husband on Twitter (yes, that’s right – Twitter) back when it wasn’t a cesspool and the 45th President of the United States didn’t have an account to display how terrible his intelligence and bad grammar was (probably still is, let’s be honest). I’ve made friends with people around the world and when travelling to their countries, some even had me stay with them and let me live like a local while I visited (they’re now my friends for life). I’ve been sent video games to play on my consoles just because I admitted on Twitch that I had never played certain games before (Final Fantasy 7 Remake and Fire Emblem: Three Houses, I’m looking at you), and an iPod because my online friends found it bizarre that I had never owned one.
I’ve organised flash mobs around Melbourne making people talk on bananas like they’re phones, had people freeze like statues for over 5 minutes on Bourke Street Mall, and march down Swanston Street in a once annual pirate parade to celebrate Talk Like a Pirate Day. I was even once a trending topic on Twitter while I had pneumonia which somehow granted me in receiving free admission to a Disney art exhibition and Disney DVDs. I could share so many wonderful stories of my experiences on the internet and what they conjured, but I had to remember that these were my experiences and not Connor’s.
In many ways, Connor is right. People can be fake online, keyboard warriors exist that actually hate confrontation, catfishing exists, being a scammer can be a real job, right-wing organisations can find hidden corners of the internet to converse and ponder, cyberbullying is horrifying, and I could not imagine growing up in primary school and attending high school with social media the way it is now. And while I only know how to be myself on services like Instagram, I understand that not everyone thinks this way and constantly strive for unattainable perfection. I’m also probably just really, very lucky.
So, when Connor sung ‘Easy’, a beautiful eloquent and thought evoking number on the acoustic guitar, this was when Connor truly won me over. I also couldn’t help but wonder what songs were scrapped from the show and what serious songs he had hidden up his sleeve. Connor is clearly an excellent writer, with an amazing voice, and wonderful stage presence. I’m honestly surprised I had not heard of him sooner.
I suppose my only real criticism is that upon leaving the show, there was no way for me to hear any of the songs again. Although, I am hoping that this changes and the songs from the show will become an album readily available on Spotify sometime (this is not even a hint, I’m blatantly saying that I want it).
A Lovely Day To Be Online doesn’t necessarily teach us anything new. Connor himself even confessed that he still uses social media and can’t deny himself the internet. But it is a healthy reminder to probably use multi-factor authentication, change your passwords frequently, and to not be so gullible. It also shares that social media is not a great place for when you’re going through a hard time or are going through depression.
But much like how darkness cannot be defined without the existence of light, there is some good to come of the internet, specifically regarding A Lovely Day To Be Online. Because if not for social media, I wouldn’t have known about this show, and if not for the internet, I wouldn’t be a review writer nor would I be happily writing and publishing this theatre review of a witty little show that deserves your attention.
So, if you’re ever in the mood for excellent vocals from Connor Morel, who I’m convinced has mutant lungs (this is a compliment!), want to gaze in awe at Will Conway’s luscious locks while he brings in the beats, gaze in awe at Kat Ades’ finesse, and want to witness the fastest hour of fun (no, seriously – the show felt like it was over so quickly), then A Lovely Day To Be Online is a must-see performance that you will not forget anytime soon.
A Lovely Day To Be Online made its debut at this year’s Melbourne Fringe playing from the 15th of October to the 23rd at Trades Hall’s Common Room. While the 2022 festival is now over, I have no doubt that this show will be making an appearance again very soon.
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Photography by Lucinda Goodwin of Lucinda Goodwin Photography.