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Camden Fringe Review: Grab 'Em By The Pussy at Fourth Monkey, London

While the very title of this crazy little show written by Caroline Buckley might suggest a lean toward our current infamous President of the USA and his nefarious deeds, it purely forms the title and except a now even more ironic reference or two to North Korea, it has no influence at all.

What Grab 'Em By The Pussy is actually is at times a rather sweet and at others a gloriously rude relationship (or lack of) comedy musical which sees Maisy (Alice Wolff-Whitehouse) in need of contact and willing to be handled or fondled, well, pretty much anywhere.

It's all at times rather dark and alarming and perhaps this kind of material could never possibly come from the pen of a male now with the female lean on the subject anyway. However, despite its very forcefulness of content, including what is pretty much a rape scene, it disturbs a viewer in how genuinely fun it all is. It leaves you with tinges of discomfort which are quickly somehow forgotten as we glide into some upbeat and crazily jolly song.

While perhaps Trump has influenced the title, you can't help but feel that possibly the whole package is a little influenced by the TV series Crazy Ex Girlfriend. If it isn't, it still feels much like watching a stage version of it with the exuberant larger than life, and quite brilliant performances from the cast. As one acting scene drifts incongruously into a singing one as musicals oft do, it all lays at 100% on the wacky meter. This is even before all the cast wheel in wearing "cat" suits to perform the title song of Grab ’Em By the Miaow.

The cast really is quite brilliant in this show, from the lead of Wolff-Whitehouse having an incredible look and stage presence to hold the show together with a slickness and effervescent nature. Her two friends of Jackie and Roxanne played by Grace Russell and Rachel Loughran are equally confident, creating a trio of "mates", less friendly with one another than it at first seems allowing it to form a likeable sparky relationship.

Adam Ralph Morsen has his main moment as the frankly horrible Roland the sexist and vulgar rap star, happy to do as the title suggests to his female fanes. He is great in the role and plays off well with the audience as well, being suitably offensive to us in equal measure. Finally is Alasdair Melrose as the awkward and shy Ian and seeker of Maisy's affections in the worst possible clumsy ways. He creates a stunningly rounded character in his scenes and perhaps the star of the show for me, and in his solo "man" song is truly brilliant showing a nice flair for singing (as his background suggests). In fact the rest of the cast are all perfectly adept in the singing numbers as much as the acting scenes making this a lovely little performed piece.

Director Bence Kalo and movement director Carissa Rickeard do great work creating a flowing piece and as a clunky scene change hater, I delighted in the repeated slow-motion piece performed by Wolff-Whitehouse to a brilliant snappy piece of music from Josh Wells. The set, while simple, proves effective in its transformation of scenes.

It really was great fun even if you might be unsure of the nature of the subject matter. Tough ideas well handled and never ridiculed to such an extent to be totally uncomfortable, it truly was a great piece of entertainment for an hour. Purrfect!
½

Performance reviewed: Wednesday 9th August at Fourth Monkey, London

Grab 'Em By The Pussy was performed during the Camden Fringe at Fourth Monkey between Wednesday 9th and Saturday 12th August. It heads to The York Theatre Royal on 23rd October for one night, details at https://www.yorktheatreroyal.co.uk/event/grab_em_by_the_pussy.php#.WZBldFGGOUk



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