WORTH A LOOK?: *****
WHERE?: VAULT Festival RUNTIME: 75 minutes
WHEN?: 17/3 (matinee) (press review ticket), touring the UK until 12/7/19
Welcome to the world’s first superhero musical set in High Wycombe.
- Read on for reasons including where to catch this treat as it tours the UK
Opening song Nothing Ever Happens in High Wycombe introduces us to the five-strong cast (three women, two men) who play multiple roles of both sexes.
Allie Munro plays Bryony Buckle, an office worker who has a crush on Orson Bloom who hasn’t noticed that the funds raised from the tampon tax aren’t going where they are supposed to.
She’s struck by lightning after a dose of experimental hormone therapy and a new superhero is born named Vulvarine. Can she stop The Mansplainer and save womankind?
Vulvarine was written by Robyn Grant (who plays characters including the evil Mansplainer here) and Daniel Foxx and it’s our favourite new musical of the year so far.
Fat Rascal is doing for musical theatre what Phoebe Waller-Bridge is doing for comedy (Fleabag) and thrillers (Killing Eve). That is re-inventing them by having women at their heart and playing with familiar stereotypes which means the cute love interest here is the curly-haired office boy played by Jamie Mawson.
We loved puppet cat Elton whose enthusiasm for licking himself in a particular place is celebrated in a song that would make your pets blush and it’s Grant’s comic timing and knack for a comedy accent that continuously has us laughing out loud.
Munro is an engaging lead, Katie Wells’ unrequited love tugged at our heartstrings and we very much enjoyed Steffan Rizzi in drag singing Boys Will Be Boys and giving life to Mrs Mansplainer’s tragic back story.
At 75 minutes there’s so much plot, gags, catchy songs and dance routines here that it’s impossible not to be bowled over by its ambition and fun. It’s touring the UK now and returns to London’s King’s Head Theatre from 11/6 to 6/7. An absolute must-see.