REVIEW: Vulvarine: A New Musical ★★★★

Fat Rascal Theatre’s brand new comedic, feminist, superhero-satirising musical heads straight to Assembly this Fringe, complete with purple lycra and sea urchins.

From the minds that created last year’s award-winning Buzz: The MusicalVulvarine tells the tale of “second-smartest girl in the office” Bryony Buckle (Allie Munro), who mysteriously contracts superpowers (“a combination of lots of superheros” we are told, tongue-in-cheek), and becomes Vulvarine, the super hero which she needed. Billed as the saviour of womankind, Vulvarine fixes small but mounting gender issues, such as men taking up space on train seats, before meeting her arch-nemesis ‘The Mansplainer’ (Robyn Grant).

Vulvarine cleverly explores issues surrounding gender and equality, all whilst disguised in musical comedy and larger-than-life characters. Clever casting ensures that no body or gender is stereotyped For example, Grant’s portaryal of ‘The Mansplainer’ is seeped in pantomime villain-realness, and Andrew Dillon’s performance as his wife (amongst other characters) is a real secondary character to root for.

What is appreciated is the many references to other musicals made throughout, from the subtle reference and arm pump of ‘My Shot’ (Hamilton), The Greatest Showman entrance of The Mansplainer, or the subtle bend and snap movement. Each is a real treat for audiences who are musical mega-fans, and prove that the Fat Rascal team really know their stuff. Dance breaks are also welcome, and Munro and Katie Wells’ dance skills are fantastic.

Vulvarine is an incredibly fun show, full of tiny splutters (hehe the laser beamer) and details which catch the audience off-guard. From a talking northern cat to the bubbly first number ‘Nothing really happens in High Wycombe’, Vulvarine contains many hidden gems and jokes. It’s certainly a masterfully-written comedy musical which will have you laughing your socks off and begging for a full version.

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