Book and Lyrics: Robyn Grant
Music: James Ringer-Beck
Associate Director: Cat Robey
Choreographer: Matthew Ives
Musical Arrangements: Henry Brennan
Reviewer: Glen Pearce
There’s been an on/off Bridget Jones musical, with music by Lily Allen, in the pipeline for a number of years and, God help us, a musical version of 50 Shades Of Grey heading to the stage next year. Fat Rascals Theatre company have though scooped them both with Buzz, the ultimate musical comedy looking at the ups and down of the female sex life…oh and with an educational look at the history of the vibrator thrown in.
Angie (Allie Munro) finds herself having to reevaluate her love life after being dumped by boyfriend Mark (George Lock) who decides he needs to tour the UK with his band – although her mother is convinced Mark is further in the closet than Narnia and only attracted to Angie because of her boyish haircut.
Inspired by her friends to seek out new fun, and left traumatised after a visit to Anne Summers, Angie turns to that much safer environment, the internet to find her perfect toy, in doing so not only discovering the history of the vibrator but also discovering herself.
Though not a subject we’re likely to see on Time Team anytime soon, we are treated to a series of historical flashbacks from Greek Goddesses, Cleopatra, Victorian women with ‘hysteria’ and a Gracie Fields-esque WW2 number – all charting the development of female sexuality.
Alongside the historical flashbacks, we also follow Angie on her attempts to get over Mark and find her own enjoyment.
It could all so easily be tacky and embarrassing but there’s real warmth and humour in Robyn Grant’s book and lyrics that it’s impossible to be offended. The songs (music by James Ringer-Beck) are witty and well delivered by the young company, and while a line up in this firmly tongue-in-cheek show reminds us this is not Disney, there’s knowing nods to not only Disney, but a range of musicals, including Sweeney Todd’s raise your razor high being replaced by something much more phallic.
In the metal shipping container of The Warren Studio 2 there are some understandable acoustic issues but that doesn’t detract from the sheer energy and fun of the piece, or the full conviction from the entire company. What is surprising, given the subject matter, is how engaging the piece is regardless of gender. While shows such as The Vagina Monologues draw a mainly female audience, Buzz works regardless of gender. It’s humour and universal theme of wanting love is relatable to all and any initial embarrassment is soon dispelled by this accomplished musical comedy.
It’s unlikely you’ll ever find yourself clapping along to an Andrew Lloyd Webber musical with a closing showstopping rendition of Me and my C**t but in Buzz, both a love story and a love story to musical theatre itself, it seems entirely proper. A clever and well-produced debut from Fat Rascals Theatre that marks them as a company to watch in the future.
Runs until 16 May 2017 | Image: Contributed