Bunions and Calluses

I like to think of myself as a casual musical person. Like, they’re not ‘me’, but I will go and see them if they’re really good. Why not, yeah? Musicals are good fun; basically mashing up overacting with music. That’s always good to see live.

And everyone was already going to see Andy-Boyd Web’s new musical ‘Spats’, about the dawn of the podiatry industry in Melbourne. Podiatry has a fascinating history, so it makes sense that someone has taken it and fictionalised it in song and prose for profit. It’s what I’d do.

I honestly had to read the synopsis to really figure out what I was supposed to be watching, though…it was one of those ones where too much of the story is told in song and you lose track. So, at the dawn of the 20th century, everyone was wearing spats, and they’re just not good for your feet. Fashionable for the time, but they ended up getting all kinds of common foot conditions. There was a whole song about all the ways people were ruining their feet where they managed to make entire verses just full of foot problems; it was called ‘Ulcers and Fungus and Calluses, Oh Dear!’ You know, one of those comedic songs that’s actually describing something quite horrific. The visuals…well, they could’ve toned them down somewhat, I won’t lie. I didn’t need to see what they were projecting onto the back curtain.

This was before podiatry clinics were treating people with custom orthotics and all that…in fact, doctors were expected to be podiatrists at the same time. They started a campaign to get people to stop wearing spats all the time, they succeeded, there was an agreement to only wear spats on special occasions…cue big dance number where everyone is tap-dancing, in spats. As a tacit depiction of podiatry, it’s maybe not that great. But that’s theatre for you.