The 2019 movie version of Cats lives in many peoples memories... for all the wrong reasons. This new one-man show from Awkward Productions has the full title How To Live A Jellicle Life: Life Lessons From The 2019 Hit Movie Musical Cats does exactly what it says on the (cat food?) tin.
Performed and created by Linus Karp, it becomes clear early on that he, of course, is in on the joke. From the moment he bursts on to the stage in his own catsuit, he has the audience in the palm of his hands. Whether dancing, chasing a laser, talking or miming (Even problems with his voice didn't stop the show from going on), Linus makes an hour long Powerpoint presentation far more interesting and outright hilarious than it ought to be.
With voice help from Sam Carlyle who helps provide a creative solution to a problem that risked stopping the show, Linus leads the audience in a fun re-telling of the movie version of the show complete with audience participation where you can make your own jellicle choice. One particular highlight is the a section on gay music where iconic songs are replaced by the words "Heaviside Layer". It may sound strange but believe me, it works - and it's hilarious.
All of the characters and their choices get their own moment of reflection during the show though thankfully we are spared delving into James Corden for any more than a token reference. Select moments from the movie are pulled out to give them new context with one particular highlight a sequence that looks at Dame Judi Dench being unbothered at a fellow cats sob story. One of the greatest punchlines of the night takes a pivotal moment from the movie and plays a recent Cardi B alongside it to brilliant effect.
What makes this very unusual show work is Linus - utterly charismatic, at times he can be reminiscent of a young Julian Clary. Naturally hilarious and always captivating, the writing is in equal parts clever and stupid but comes together beautifully to find something truly funny.
Unashamedly batshit crazy, How To Live A Jellicle Life takes you on a journey through one of the darkest times for musical theatre and, for the first time, makes something good come from the movie. With the creativity of this production, Linus has made the impossible possible by ALMOST making the 2019 movie version of Cats watchable. Almost.
How To Live A Jellicle Life continues a sold out run in London this week and heads to Cambridge, Birmingham, Poole and Bristol through June and July. For tickets see linktr.ee/jellicle