‘Have you really experienced the Fringe if you haven’t seen a musical about vibrators?’ I overhear someone asking their friend as I wait in line for Buzz: A New Musical. One hour later, the answer is an overwhelming ‘absolutely not.’
This musical, by rising company Fat Rascal Theatre, is a hilarious and refreshingly brilliant romp (heh) into the world of femininity and sex. It follows Angie, a relatable 20-something who relatably lives in her penguin pyjamas, on her quest to love herself after her wet-blanket boyfriend dumps her. It sounds cliché, and in a way, it is, however this does not negatively impact the enjoyment this production brings. Stories about women discovering themselves and their bodies are always heart-warming, always crowd pleasers, and this one knows it; throughout, the audience are roaring with laughter, applauding, I honestly think the woman behind me choked on her gin.
It feels like we’re watching a more mature, and mature-rated, episode of Miranda; the show expertly balances cringe with genuinely sharp comedy, and even better, is upfront about its sexual content without ever being crass or offensive. The discussions of sex are frank; gone is the trademarked prudish British nature, and musical numbers about the long and unjust history of female sexuality are ushered in, literally buzzing with energy. The discussions about sexual politics are accessible, fun and further ground the overall message of the show – in a way I am left wondering about the possibility of an ‘after dark’ version of Horrible Histories.
The cast are exceptionally funny, the characters are well-defined, and the general overwhelmingly unapologetic stance this production takes has me punching the air like I am witnessing a victory. It is worth noting that the audience members are not all ‘feminist millennial teens’, but people of all age and gender. The cheering that follows an electro-pop preach about Cleopatra tossing aside the patriarchy for a gourd full of angry bees is a rallying cry, everyone boos together as Angie’s boyfriend attempts to win her back, whistles fill the hall when she busts out her ‘me-time’ PJs; I did not see a single disappointed face as the house lights went up after a fan(ny)tastic finale.
Buzz: A New Musical is showing us the door to the future, and I for one will stride through it to the back of Ann Summers with my debit card and burning determination.