Tag Archives: Jamie Mawson

Vulvarine

Vulvarine
★★★★★

King’s Head Theatre & UK Tour

Vulvarine

Vulvarine

King’s Head Theatre

Reviewed – 13th June 2019

★★★★★

 

“Bryony Buckle may be ‘astoundingly average’ but Vulvarine’s cast and direction are anything but”

 

Vulvarine: A New Musical is a superhero comic musical parody which tells the story of Bryony Buckle (Allie Munro), a young woman who lives an exceedingly ordinary life in the uneventful town of High Wycombe. Bryony checks tax codes by day and sips red wine with her cat Elton (Robyn Grant) by night. That is, however, before she is transformed into the superhero Vulvarine following a hormone injection at the doctor’s and a convenient lightning strike.

Following the discovery of an error in the tampon tax, Vulvarine, her best friend Poppy (Katie Wells) and her pretty boy love interest Orson Bloom (Jamie Mawson) must take on the misogynistic Mansplainer (Robyn Grant) and his wife Sonya (Steffan Rizzi) before women in High Wycombe and beyond are made subservient by his Hormone-a-beam.

Through Vulvarine: A New Musical, Artistic Director Robyn Grant aims to highlight the extensive use of hormonal medication amongst women. Grant herself was on the contraceptive pill for period pain from the age of fourteen and it was only ten years later that she became aware of its terrifying side effects. With the rising wave of abortion restrictions in America, Grant hopes Vulvarine will inspire women to take control of their own bodies and revolt against those who wish to restrict womankind. Despite these powerful themes, Vulvarine: A New Musical never takes itself too seriously and succeeds in engaging its audience with these important topics in a fun and light-hearted way.

Vulvarine: A New Musical is exceedingly funny. The cast take a little while to warm up, but the show is soon in full swing with a laugh a minute. The dialogue is quick and hyperaware of the superhero clichés it draws on. Instances of actors breaking the fourth wall such as when a stagehand lifts a chair to demonstrate Vulvarine’s super-strength before looking at the audience, going ‘oops!’ and running off stage are wonderfully humorous additions.

The stage consists of a simple cardboard townscape for most of the show but becomes more elaborate towards the performance’s end with the incorporation of a (cardboard) control panel and shark tank when the protagonists infiltrate Mansplainer’s lair. The props (Hugh Purves) are a lot of fun and include a plastic pigeon on a stick which transports Bryony and Poppy to a park bench and a muppet-style puppet acting as Elton the Cat. At times the stage does seem rather crowded, but the cast work well with the space they have.

Grant shines throughout and Munro is a strong lead. Wells, Mawson and Rizzi all provided excellent support with the former electrifying the stage with the solo ‘Boys will be Boys’. Other notable songs are the Avenue Q-esque ‘Licking My Anus’ performed by Elton the Cat and ‘Who’s that Girl’ performed by both Bryony and Poppy and nicely threaded throughout the musical in multiple reprises. Bryony Buckle may be ‘astoundingly average’ but Vulvarine’s cast and direction are anything but.

 

Reviewed by Flora Doble

Photography by Lidia Crisafulli

 


Vulvarine

King’s Head Theatre until 6th July then UK Tour continues

 

Last ten shows reviewed at this venue:
Outlying Islands | ★★★★ | January 2019
Carmen | ★★★★ | February 2019
Timpson: The Musical | ★★★ | February 2019
The Crown Dual | ★★★★ | March 2019
Undetectable | ★★★★ | March 2019
Awkward Conversations With Animals … | ★★★★ | April 2019
HMS Pinafore | ★★★★ | April 2019
Unsung | ★★★½ | April 2019
Coral Browne: This F***Ing Lady! | ★★ | May 2019
This Island’s Mine | ★★★★★ | May 2019

 

Click here to see more of our latest reviews on thespyinthestalls.com

 

Vulvarine

Vulvarine
★★★★★

VAULT Festival

Vulvarine

Vulvarine

The Vaults

Reviewed – 14th March 2019

★★★★★

 

“It’s a rare treat to find musical comedies on the fringe circuit that are as technically good as they are funny”

 

Nothing ever happens in High Wycombe. Bryony Buckle spends her days living alone with her cat Elton, working a monotonous office job with her friend Poppy, and crushing on her colleague Orson. But one day, the combination of a hormone injection from her doctor, and being struck by lightning on her way home, results in Bryony waking up with superpowers! She decides to use them for good: Wherever men are arseholes, Vulvarine is there to stop them. But it isn’t long before she’s challenged by an evil scientist: The Mansplainer. Can Vulvarine and her friends defeat him?

Fat Rascal Theatre continue to set the bar for off-West End musicals. I was lucky enough to catch their Beauty and the Beast: A Musical Parody back in November at The King’s Head, and arrived at VAULT Festival last night with impossibly high expectations. Their Beauty and the Beast was the most fun I’d had at a show in ages; it was a question whether they’d be able to match their own standard. But without doubt, Fat Rascal have done it again. Vulvarine is a triumph of musical theatre.

A powerhouse of a show, Vulvarine is an astoundingly clever and absolutely hilarious musical parody of the superhero genre. It’s also feminism at its silliest and most entertaining. West-End voices belt out smart, witty lyrics (Robyn Grant, Daniel Elliot) to fun, highly accomplished music (James Ringer-Beck). The performers are superb. Their comedy is faultless, their parody expert.

Self-aware humour is one of Fat Rascal’s own superpowers. With a somewhat lower budget than the typical Marvel film, they create a brilliantly funny aesthetic with cheap wigs, comically fast costume changes, flimsy props, and total mockery of ‘effects’ (a handheld vacuum in reverse is the wind as Vulvarine ‘flies through the air’). The show is laugh-out-loud from start to finish. The audience really almost never stops laughing. There ought to be a warning for anyone prone to hysterical fits; some people lost it completely.

Allie Munro is equally lovable and fierce as Bryony/Vulvarine. Jamie Mawson is delightful as the ‘pretty’ love interest, Orson (a nice gender swap from typical Marvel plotlines). Steffan Rizzi is great as Sonya, and sings a particularly powerful solo – “Boys Will Be Boys” – which is done with surprising heart and skill. Robyn Grant and Katie Wells slay their multi-rolling performances. All of the voices in this show belong on much larger stages. It’s a rare treat to find musical comedies on the fringe circuit that are as technically good as they are funny.

Fat Rascal Theatre are at the top of their game. An undeniable hit, Vulvarine is the latest addition to their list of victories. The show is shamelessly silly fun, created by powerfully talented people. You’ll be hard-pressed to spend a more enjoyable hour and fifteen minutes in a theatre.

 

Reviewed by Addison Waite

Photography courtesy Fat Rascal Theatre

 

Vault Festival 2019

Vulvarine

Part of VAULT Festival 2019

 

Also by Fat Rascal Theatre:
Beauty and the Beast: A Musical Parody | ★★★★★ | King’s Head Theatre | November 2018

 

Click here to see more of our latest reviews on thespyinthestalls.com