‘Ripping apart comic book Superhero clichés and gender stereotypes … with songs that stand out for their ingenuity, wit and catchiness’
Fat Rascal return with a brand-new addition to the musical theatre genre akin to their previously, and equally imaginative TOM AND BUNNY SAVE THE WORLD at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2018. That was a hilarious take on the Zombie Apocalypse trope and this new offering, VULVARINE, is a ripping apart of the Superhero clichés and most interestingly, the gender stereotypes associated with the comic book medium.
Meet our average office girl, Bryony Buckle, as her days are filled with mind numbing office work, thinking about lunch and lusting after Orson Bloom from IT. Oh, and she lives in High Wycombe. The life of a late-20’s introvert, right? But, following a dose of hormone therapy gone wrong and a well-timed bolt of lightning, Bryony gains superhero abilities and a brand-new persona: Vulvarine, saviour of womankind. Add to that, her nemesis the wittily named The Mansplainer, Fat Rascal have concocted an absurd, politically engaged and hugely entertaining musical with close analysis to the representation of female characters in fiction. Be that comic books or not.
Allie Munro as Bryony Buckle/Vulvarine is electric in her performance as the hopeless Bryony thrust into a Spiderman-esque scenario. Complete with nuclear sea urchins. Meanwhile, she is supported exceptionally by a cast who multirole with ease and confidence. Some may not realise immediately that this production is only formed of five actors. This is multi rolling pushed to exceptional heights. Robyn Grant offers some wonderful moments of humour as The Mansplainer and Stefan Rizzi as Sonya, a female scientist and the villain’s accomplice, is bewitching. The company have struck gold in this gender-bending show. Having Rizzi as a female scientist, all ‘sexy’ and ‘exotic’ only entrenches into the audience further how female characters are categorised in fiction and the superhero genre. On the other hand, James Mawson as the love interest of Bryony, Orson Bloom, even more, a statement on female representation as he is continuously relegated to the challenging task of ‘stand there and look pretty’.
With music composed by James Ringer-Beck and lyrics by Robyn Grant & Daniel Foxx, songs stand out for their ingenuity, wit and catchiness. Particularly ‘In High Wycombe’, ‘That Girl’ and a heartfelt performance of ‘Boys Will Be Boys’ by Rizzi.
In the face of geopolitical flux, this is exactly the kind of reactionary and entertaining musical theatre that needs to be made and seen. And with a national tour coming up after The Vaults, Fat Rascal are hotly becoming a company at the forefront of exciting and relevant musical theatre.
VULVARINE is on tour, which includes upcoming dates at two pub theatres, Old Joint Stock in Birmingham and King’s Head Theatre in Islington, London. Book at the theatre box office:
Old Joint Stock, Birmingham, March 20th – 23rd
Wardrobe Bristol, March 27th – 30th
Brewery Arts Centre, April 3rd
Komedia Brighton, May 27th – 29th
King’s Head Theatre, Islington June 11th – July 6th
Cast Doncaster, July 10th
The Lowry Salford, July 11th – 12th
Reviewer Emma Zadow is an actor and theatre maker from South London. She trained at Rose Bruford College in Theatre and Performance. @EmmaZadow