After the successful run of Beauty and the Beast: A Musical Parody in 2018, Fat Radical Theatre are presenting a new musical Vulvarine: A New Musical at the London VAULT Festival. The theatre company of young actors was formed in 2016 and they are already developing a unique style. Vulvarine is a play that puts a twist to the conventional, androcentric superhero narrative, retelling it through an irreverent feminist lens.
Vulvarine tells the story of Bryony Buckle, an ordinary office worker and owner of a cat with a human-sounding name, with a crush on her fellow office worker, Orson Bloom. After taking a hormonal drug which, according to the doctor, will cure her common cold (a subtle jab at cultural ignorance towards female anatomy), Bryony Buckle acquires super powers similar to those in Wolverine and Spiderman.
The play is hilarious – the opening number ‘Nothing Ever Happens in High Wycombe’ is joyful and shows the play as funny, yet firmly set against realities of every day life in Britain. Through the silliness, the play addresses some current social issues such as the 'Tampon Tax' and the lack of female representation in the workplace; the actors assert these issues with such charm that their repartees were met with constant enthusiasm from audiences. Woman of a variety of sexualities and gender identities are represented through the character Sonya (played by Steffan Rizzi). You get male characters, such as the satirically named The Mansplainer, and female characters like Debbie, played simultaneously by Robyn Grant, showing a new attitude towards the fluidity of gender in theatre.
Vulvarine is about female empowerment. The story demonstrates changes to clichéd narratives, which is refreshing and much needed for a world progressively influenced by "fourth-wave" feminism. This is a performance where we can see the superhero genre in a fresh light and the female audience can leave feeling empowered.
Edited by Evangeline Stanford, Digital Editor and Olive Franklin, Theatre Editor
Vulvarine: A New Musical is currently on its UK tour.
Old Stock Birmingham
20 – 23 March