The absurd legacy of 2019 cinematic musical Cats gets a reappraisal from cabaret talent Linus Karp in How to Live a Jellicle Life: Life Lessons from the 2019 Hit Movie Musical ‘Cats’. Blending a unique brand of observational comedy, song, and audience participation, Karp has crafted a strangely compelling TED talk that left me feeling far more jellicle.
Linus encourages the audience to become more jellicle using Tom Hooper’s Cats as our guide. Karp delves into the cast of many cats, exploring why each one is jellicle and what lessons we can take from each of these curious felines. Utilising clips from the film and Linus’s observations on stars such as Dame Judi Dench, Sir Ian McKellen and Jason Derulo’s performances, the cabaret star delivers a camp message of hope and positivity to help us ascend to the Heaviside Layer.
Arriving on stage in a skin-tight feline patterned top, furry headpiece, and some short shorts, Linus delivers his introductory number welcoming us to this delightfully queer sixty minute set. Linus is accompanied by producer and right hand man Joseph Martin who embeds a rich variety of sound, video and music cues into the production, helping craft its distinctively charming tone. Joseph ensures the show goes without a hitch, whilst also getting his own time to shine exploring the mechanics of the Heaviside Layer.
Linus is a calming presence, guiding us through this analysis of Cats with a warming scandi-lilt, delivering the set with an endearing faux-seriousness and helping craft a welcoming environment. Through cats such as Rebel Wilson’s Jennyanydots the Gumbie Cat, Linus shares that teachers are jellicle, in Jason Derulo’s Rum Tum Tugger, we learn being sexy is jellicle, and through Mungojerrie and Rumpleteazer we learn that teamwork is jellicle. Many of the assessments of these cats lead to hilarious segues – such as musings on Jedward, a game ‘Sibling or Lover’ and Idris Elba’s Macavity launching a game dubbed ‘Napoleon Of…’ allowing some well-intentioned audience interaction.
Clips from Cats highlight the humour to be found in the 2019 movie, whilst references to hun culture moments such as Gemma Collins’ time in Celebrity Big Brother and Cheryl’s X Factor “Are you ready?” are embedded to provide many laughs. A glimpse into Cats star Steven McRae’s Instagram profile leads to an amusing showcase for Linus’s thirst traps with an inspirational slant, whilst a real public service campaign about seatbelts from the eighties cast of Cats provides some mad hilarity. A jellicle name generator allows some further well-pitched audience interaction.
How to Live a Jellicle Life is a joyous sixty minutes in which Linus Karp unleashes his jubilantly queer love letter to Cats. Brimming with outrageous humour and a kitsch, quirky aesthetic, Jellicle is an out and out treat.
Get tickets to How to Live a Jellicle Life here.