Fempire: Cleo, Theo & Wu
- Adam Bloodworth
- 7 August 2019
Bizarre tale that's not so fantastical
There seems to be a trend for theatre companies bringing ancient leaders to life. At this year's Fringe, Sheila Atim is resurrecting Cleopatra in a great new play called Anguis, and in the West End, Six The Musical brings King Henry VIII's wives back to life with the help of a musical soundtrack.
Fempire: Cleo, Theo & Wu fits into this mould by offering Cleopatra again, alongside a couple of other fictitious leaders from the past in a musical about feminism. The ancient leaders are here to save poor wayward Earthling Lucy from herself. Too obsessed with her mobile phone, she has a bad track record with dating. And that's the segue into a musical with wildly absurd space-themed costumes, a fictional space language and a twisting plot.
It's is supposed to be an uplifting, relatable tale, but its ramshackle plot muddies its redeeming messages. The tone is also bizarre. It's never made clear which parts are supposed to be funny, although to show creator and Lucy actress Kirsten Vangsness' credit, the bizarre script and great costumes lend the show a sublime energy.
Otherwise, its too woolly to convey its worthy messages, and the acting and singing doesn't quite hit the mark enough to pull off the craziness.
Assembly Rooms, until 23 Aug (not 8, 11, 14 & 15, 18, 20 & 21), 8.15pm, £10–£11 (£9–£10).