30 July @ Old Fire Station, Oxford 

“Show some respect,” Linus Karp scolds a laughing spectator. He’s got a point, this is the funeral of Gus the Theatre Cat after all, but we just chuckle more. In fact, there are few points in Karp’s How to live a jellicle life where I’m not at least smirking. In just an hour, donning cat attire, he uses Tom Hooper’s cinematic take on Lloyd Webber’s Cats to tells us what in life is and isn’t jellicle. Basic dance moves, a perfectly amateur slideshow, and an opening comprising negative feedback on the production, it’s a highly fitting addition to this year’s Edinburgh Fringe. 

We learn our jellicle names (mine is Lady Teezer the Dull Cat) and play a game of ‘Siblings or Lovers’ (into which Karp throws a picture of his parents so as to call certain audience members sick) as various felines from the 2019 film flash before us as life lessons. Bustopher Jones only gets a mention, because he’s played by James Corden. Actually, we possibly see more of Katie Price than we do The Late Late Show host, the former’s January 2019 This Morning interview cut with a clip of Dame Judi Dench as Old Deuteronomy… of course. 

There’s also a barrage of Linus Karp semi-nudes, made tasteful and necessary by the fact they’re twinned with serious political statements; queer-friendly pop songs and a wind machine (well, a fan pointed by stage manager Joseph Martin); plus a video of the performer’s mother urging us to support him so she no longer has to. 

There’s one bit of audience participation for which I was pleased to not be picked, but I’d risk singing the name Bombalurina in the style of Taylor Swift to see this Awkward Productions offering again. It’s hard not to be fond of a piece featuring the line, “fuck the Daily Mail”, and that burst of Gemma Collins shouting no into a phone. 

How to live a jellicle life is at Two Brewers, London 5 August and Greenside @ Riddles Court, Edinburgh Fringe 15-20, 22-27 August 

Photography: Dave Bird

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