Book and Director: Robyn Grant
Lyrics: Robyn Grant and Daniel Elliot
Music: James Ringer-Beck
Reviewer: Richard Maguire
As we come to the final week of this year’s VAULT Festival, it may seem that V stands for Vault, but actually V stands for Vulvarine, the new superhero created by Fat Rascal Theatre. She’s sassy, kooky and brave. She will save womankind. She is a superhero for our times.
Vulvarineis an unexpected pleasure, and the first song Nothing Ever Happens in High Wycombe sets the tone for the rest of the show. Catchy, with some funny lyrics and some snappy choreography, this song returns as a refrain throughout, and along with Who’s That Girl, it’s a standout tune.
The story is, of course, preposterous, and quite rightly so, but the cast of five do well to let their characters develop in the early scenes. We meet Bryony Buckle on her way to the local tax office where she works. She has a crush on her co-worker Orson Bloom. They seem like they could be the perfect couple, but they are both too shy to make the first move.
Life at the office is dull, but then Bryony discovers that women are going missing or getting sick. She better get her cough checked out. But it’s when she visits the doctor that her troubles begin. He says that her ‘uterus is mutinous;’ and gives her a shot of something before she heads out into the storm. The next day she wakes up as a superhero; she’s incredibly strong and her unique superpower is the ability to converse with her cat, Elton. Can the two of them find out what’s happened to the women of Wycombe?
Despite the silliness that ensues Vulvarine is a tightly structured 60 minutes, with each cast member throwing themselves into their roles with abandon. As our hero, Allie Munro is in good voice, and with her quirkiness, she quickly ensures that the audience will be with her all the way. One of Vulvarine’s creators, Robyn Grant, plays multiple roles, but her Mansplainer is hilarious. Jamie Mawson is very endearing as meek Orson, and Katie Wells is wonderful as Bryony’s best friend. But it’s Steffan Rizzi as the villain’s wife who really brings down the house!
With a bit more spit and polish, Vulvarine definitely has a future. The story, and the songs, especially, are well-crafted and the show’s zany humour is reminiscent of that other superhero musical, The Toxic Avenger. Feminist and funny, Vulvarine is the Saviour of Womankind!
Runs until 17 March 2019 | Image: Contributed