Frankie Thompson review – all the feline feels with a magnetic performer | Edinburgh festival 2022

The stage is ready with a treadmill, yoga mat, step-up field and a giant silver train ball for Frankie Thompson’s Catts. An appropriate assortment for a richly bodily present. As Thompson enters, there are hints of the feline: a T-shirt adorned with threads of wool, a hair-do paying homage to little cat ears. A highlight flashes into life, earlier than disappearing and rising elsewhere, and Thompson begins an amusing chase – a cat looking for a sliver of daylight?

Thompson fiddles with a retro VCR and Jane Fonda’s Authentic Exercise sparkles on to a display. “I’m making an attempt to work out the way to cope,” she tentatively tells the gang.

Earlier than she will be able to get going, Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Cats interrupts. With modifying paying homage to a household VHS that’s been taped over too many instances, the present weaves collectively feline references from disparate origins – Postman Pat, The Aristocats, Don’t Inform the Bride, Antiques Roadshow.

Hilarious … Frankie Thompson: Catts.
Hilarious … Frankie Thompson: Catts. {Photograph}: Murdo MacLeod/The Guardian

Thompson flits between manic exercise and managed lip-syncing of the characters on our journey, her brilliantly expressive face bringing the audio to life. A haughty but terrified Apprentice contestant desperately making an attempt to flog a cat-themed calendar is a standout, her dance to the ominous theme tune bringing large laughs. Her interpretation of The Simpsons’ Loopy Cat Woman is a beautiful, foolish interlude, sending the viewers ducking as cats fly across the room. Many within the viewers are singled out for intense eye contact, Thompson holding gazes to the hilarious excessive.

Beneath the enjoyable and silliness, we’re invited to consider stress, being overwhelmed and changing into comfy inside your personal head. Often, the music stops and the lights come up. “It’s simply me now,” Thompson says, instantly unsure. She artfully escalates her feline qualities, stalking the stage, even taking a really humorous flip in a litter field. We peak with an operatic homage to cats.

Thompson is a magnetic performer, her clownish physicality a pleasure to look at. What’s a “loopy cat girl”, anyway? Perhaps all of us want a cat of our personal to assist us really feel a bit of bit much less loopy.

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