Tag Archives: Lion and Unicorn Theatre

The Rice Krispie Killer

The Rice Krispie Killer

★★★★

Lion and Unicorn Theatre

The Rice Krispie Killer

The Rice Krispie Killer

Lion and Unicorn Theatre

Reviewed – 11th August 2021

★★★★

 

“an exceptionally well written and funny piece of theatre”

 

You think you’ve had it tough over the past eighteen months. Imagine not leaving your house for eighteen years; which is where we find the two brothers, Finbar and Donnacha in Little Shadow Theatre’s two hander. Six thousand five hundred and fifty-six days, to be precise, if we are to believe Donnacha, the elder sibling, who appears to rule the roost. They have been barricaded inside the four walls of their suburban Dublin home since the mysterious death of their parents from a bad batch of Rice Krispies.

Written by Seán Basil Crawford, this sixty-minute duologue is a bit of a find. The language trips off the pair’s tongues with its delightful Gaelic rhythms. Initially light and charged with surreal humour, it soon has hints of darkness that flicker subliminally in the background. Crawford (who also plays the younger brother) writes with a skill that renders the absurd believable. You can imagine him spinning a yarn over a pint of Guinness, weaving his eccentric mind patterns into a patchwork quilt of mismatched anecdotes.

The pair are a hilarious couple on stage. They gently spar, comfort each other with stories, play word games and talk about biscuits and giraffes as though Samuel Beckett had been hired by the Comic Strip team in the eighties. Crawford bounces with a childlike energy and innocence, with touches of a young Ardal O’Hanlan in his delivery, while Ross Gaynor humours, tolerates, babysits, entertains and ultimately controls him. Gaynor captures the dynamics of their relationship perfectly, only occasionally letting slip that something wicked this way is coming.

Finbar’s belief, endorsed by Donnacha, is that their parents were poisoned by a sinister villain known as the Rice Krispie Killer and now, after nearly two decades, his quest (vehemently not endorsed by Donnacha) is to go into the outside world to see if he can catch the culprit. Donnacha’s arguments to keep him in the house have the veneer of protection, of wanting to shield his vulnerable kid brother but it reeks of propaganda and supremacy. It is difficult to know whether this is intentional political commentary in the shadow of lockdown, or just serendipity. But it doesn’t really matter – this is a character driven piece and director Niall Jordan knows how to spotlight the contradictions of these weird personalities.

The only minor qualm about the piece is that you can anticipate the final twist a bit too early on in the play. But hey, who cares? I’m in danger now of becoming over analytical (read as pompous). Let’s just tell it straight: this is an exceptionally well written and funny piece of theatre, played out by two hugely talented comic actors. It is running as part of the Camden Fringe Festival so only has a limited run. I suggest you don’t waste time getting your ticket.

 

Reviewed by Jonathan Evans

 


The Rice Krispie Killer

Lion and Unicorn Theatre until 14th August

 

Part of Camden Fringe Festival 2021

 

 

Previously reviewed this year by Jonathan:
Sherlock Holmes: The Case of the Hung Parliament | ★★★★ | Online | February 2021
Bklyn The Musical | ★★★★★ | Online | March 2021
Remembering the Oscars | ★★★ | Online | March 2021
The Picture of Dorian Gray | ★★★★ | Online | March 2021
Disenchanted | ★★★ | Online | April 2021
Abba Mania | ★★★★ | Shaftesbury Theatre | May 2021
Cruise | ★★★★★ | Duchess Theatre | May 2021
Preludes in Concert | ★★★★★ | Online | May 2021
You Are Here | ★★★★ | Southwark Playhouse | May 2021
Amélie The Musical | ★★★★ | Criterion Theatre | June 2021
Bad Days And Odd Nights | ★★★★★ | Greenwich Theatre | June 2021
Express G&S | ★★★★ | Pleasance Theatre | June 2021
Forever Plaid | ★★★★ | Upstairs at the Gatehouse | June 2021
Forgetful Heart | ★★★★ | Online | June 2021
Staircase | ★★★ | Southwark Playhouse | June 2021
The Hooley | ★★★★★ | Chiswick House & Gardens | June 2021
Be More Chill | ★★★★ | Shaftesbury Theatre | July 2021
Heathers | ★★★ | Theatre Royal Haymarket | July 2021
The Two Character Play | ★★★★ | Hampstead Theatre | July 2021
My Night With Reg | ★★★★ | The Turbine Theatre | July 2021
Big Big Sky | ★★★★ | Hampstead Theatre | August 2021
The Windsors: Endgame | ★★★ | Prince of Wales Theatre | August 2021

 

Click here to see our most recent reviews

 

How to Life a Jellicle Life

★★★★

Lion and Unicorn Theatre

How to live a jellicle life

How to Live a Jellicle Life: Life Lessons From the 2019 Hit Movie Musical ‘Cats’

Lion & Unicorn Theatre

Reviewed – 21st October 2020

★★★★

 

“an hilarious journey through the fever dream that is the 2019 movie musical Cats”

 

In December 2019, the questionable decision was made to turn the Tony Award-winning musical Cats by Andrew Lloyd Webber into a blockbuster movie, in which a star-studded cast were transformed into singing and dancing humanoid-felines through the use of some rather dodgy CGI. The bizarre film adaption quickly became a meme that took the internet by storm and left reviewers in despair.

The somewhat surreal experience of watching the movie Cats had an understandably profound effect on many across the world, including Linus Karp, the director, writer and star of the new one-man show ‘how to live a jellicle life: life lessons from the 2019 hit movie musical ‘cats’’.

The show takes the form of a mock lecture in which Karp takes the audience through an animation-filled PowerPoint full of ‘jellicle’ wisdom. He begins by explaining the plot (or lack thereof) of the movie Cats. In short, Cats follows a tribe of cats called the Jellicles and the night that they make their ‘Jellicle choice’, that is, deciding which cat will ascend to the Heaviside Layer and come back to a new life. Unclear? Tough luck! As amusingly noted by Karp, that is about as much of an explanation that Lloyd Webber thought to provide.

The audience is next introduced to the Jellicle cats themselves from the “very sexy” Rum Tum Tugger played by Jason Derulo to the supposed ‘Napoleon of Crime’ Macavity the Mystery Cat. Karp makes hilarious quips and comments about all our new feline friends, and has particular fun presenting the audience with (supposedly) edited snaps of him and the lovely Mr. Mistoffelees, who he declares his true love.

The show is non-stop jokes and parodic musical numbers. The silly tone is set from the very beginning as the audience is seated to a version of Dua Lipa’s song Physical with the final chorus line replaced with ‘Let’s get Jellicle’. Later on in the performance, a disco lights machine is used to accompany a playlist of “gay-friendly pop songs” that ‘celebrate’ the Heaviside Layer. Karp is continually dancing and leaping across the stage, breaking between explanations for a bout of exaggerated musical theatre high-kicks and spins (Sam Carlyle). The absurdity of it all is infectious, and it is evident how much fun Karp is having throughout.

There is some audience participation though the ridiculousness of the show’s concept could have afforded more. Perhaps in post-Covid times, this could be incorporated more, such as a token (like a ‘Jellicle cat’ card) for the attendees to take away.

Karp is not afraid to embrace the jellicle attire (Alison Carlyle), decked out in full-body orange and black striped cat suit, a furry wig-cum-hat, and a red and black feathered tail. Throughout the performance, he adopts ‘cat-like’ movements to comic effect, and an especially funny moment is when he gets distracted by his own laser pointer. The stage is empty apart from the projector screen that sits at the back and a table with a carton of milk that Karp enthusiastically drinks from to open the show. The lights are simply done, a single spotlight on Karp as he prances around the stage.

Karp’s play is an hilarious journey through the fever dream that is the 2019 movie musical Cats. As silly as it is smart, ‘how to live a jellicle life: life lessons from the 2019 hit movie musical ‘cats’’, is a must-see for any person who left a screening of Cats pondering the epitome of philosophical questions: “how can I, too, live a Jellicle life?”

 

Reviewed by Flora Doble

Photography courtesy Awkward Productions

 


How to Live a Jellicle Life: Life Lessons From the 2019 Hit Movie Musical ‘Cats’

Lion & Unicorn Theatre until 24th October

 

Last ten shows reviewed by Flora:
Something Awful | ★★★★★ | The Vaults | January 2020
Tribes | ★★★★ | Putney Arts Theatre | January 2020
Important Art | ★★★ | The Vaults | February 2020
Jekyll & Hyde | ★★★½ | The Vaults | February 2020
Minority Report | ★★★½ | The Vaults | February 2020
The Six Wives Of Henry VIII | ★★★ | King’s Head Theatre | February 2020
Julius Caesar | ★★★★ | The Space | March 2020
The Haus Of Kunst | ★★★ | The Vaults | March 2020
Pippin | ★★★★ | The Garden Theatre | September 2020
Big Girl | ★★★ | Bread & Roses Theatre | September 2020

 

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