5-star Buzz: A New Musical at the Drayton Arms – Review
‘Can you imagine popping down to your GP to get fingered?’
And that’s the sort of shock-factor which Buzz presents. Told via the unpolished, far-from-perfect mediums of musical theatre, Buzz practically parodies the styles and conventions to present this hilarious, random and, at the heart of it all, educational piece of female empowerment, by teaching that no woman needs a man to keep her satisfied as, after all, ‘No one knows a woman like herself’.
At the centre of the history of the vibrator, surrounded by cavemen, Victorians and Cleopatra, is the breakdown of Angie’s relationship. Played like the lovechild of Bridget Jones and Miranda, Allie Munro is a loveable bundle of kooky expressions, playful gestures and a British awkwardness exhibited with great humour whilst trying to explain a vagina fart. She is supported by a large ensemble, whose direction and choreography brings the parody to life; exploding onto the stage through wardrobes and arches, into shapes which emphasise the elasticity of the performers and skills of the creative team. Robyn Grant is a particular standout, with an interaction with both audience and fellow cast that propels her comical timing, animation and ability to crave the spotlight without ever taking away from anyone else.
Moments of pure genius include a man blowing up a sex doll using an actual performer, the use of a morph suit to camouflage an actor to the wall before acting as the invisible lift in a slow-motion fight sequence and a doctor raising the chair of her patient by taking on the persona of a dentist chair. Maybe you just have to see it for yourself!
Under all of the comedy (and it is very much a comedy of the ridiculous) is a message about sex and feminism in the twenty-first century. Conveying the freedom that all human beings should have, being able to explore and love their bodies without the need for another physical being. ‘Why are we so much more ashamed of having sex with ourselves than with someone else?’, we are questioned as the wall is being viciously banged against from the couple in the bedroom. Slightly absurd and not for the prude, ‘Buzz’ confronts the stigma of masturbation, mocking the musical itself on the way (‘Mark, why are you singing?’, as he bursts into the finale), with an alternative finale of singing about ‘Me and my C***’ into a selection of dildos.
This is not a perfect musical, yet somehow transcends expectations by doing all that it can and then taking it just a few steps over the boundaries.
Review by Joseph Winer
In 50 BC Cleopatra hollowed out a fruit stone and filled it with angry bees providing her with the right kind of buzz. In 2016 Angie finds herself out of her depth with what it means to be a woman taking control of her sexuality. Winner of the 2016 Stella Wilkie Award and shortlisted for the Les Enfants Terribles Award, Buzz is a hilarious musical journey through the history of the vibrator and a brutally honest story of a singleton’s quest to fall back in love with herself. Bridget Jones meets the Book of Mormon.
BUZZ is a feminist production proudly celebrating women’s independence and sexuality. This is not your average musical. With a cast of 9 recently graduated actor-musicians, Fat Rascal transports the audience from the cave women of the Stone Age to Victorian London’s Hysteria Pandemic, from Cleopatra’s Egypt to the Land Girls of World War II. BUZZ is a fun approach to feminism, a comedy with a message aiming to liberate young women and open conversations about taboo subjects.
Buzz : A New Musical
The Drayton Arms Theatre, 153 Old Brompton Road, London SW5 0LJ
Tuesday 11th October to Saturday 29th October (Tuesdays – Saturdays)
8:00pm (Saturday Matinee 3:00pm)
Tickets: £14 (£10 conc.)
Suitable for ages 16+ (contains strong language, partial nudity and scenes of a sexual nature)