Home » Reviews » Comedy » The Museum of the Robot Pussycats, Etcetera Theatre – Review

The Museum of the Robot Pussycats, Etcetera Theatre – Review

Pros: An engaging and witty approach to interesting, and sometimes difficult, subject matter.

Cons: A work in progress, so ideas were unformed, sometimes there was no joke, and the material was incomplete. But that was the point of the gig.

Pros: An engaging and witty approach to interesting, and sometimes difficult, subject matter. Cons: A work in progress, so ideas were unformed, sometimes there was no joke, and the material was incomplete. But that was the point of the gig. Last Sunday, Sara Pascoe tried out material for her 2015 Edinburgh Fringe show, which she plans to call The Museum of the Robot Pussycats. Sunday's gig was a work in progress, making this a slightly odd review. I'm not commenting on a polished performance. Instead, I'm focussing on the potential Sara's material has to make a good Fringe show.…

Summary

Rating

Excellent

Bodes well for the Fringe 2015!

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Last Sunday, Sara Pascoe tried out material for her 2015 Edinburgh Fringe show, which she plans to call The Museum of the Robot Pussycats. Sunday’s gig was a work in progress, making this a slightly odd review. I’m not commenting on a polished performance. Instead, I’m focussing on the potential Sara’s material has to make a good Fringe show. I do, however, know that The Museum of the Robot Pussycats will take the format of a surreal story, which does indeed involve a museum of robot pussycats, interspersed with short digressions. The narrative’s overall theme will be empathy. Basically, people do bad things for good reasons.

In general, I’d recommend seeing a work in progress. You get to see how a comic develops their material, tries out jokes and pitches ideas. Of course, you may not necessarily laugh as much as you would at a finished product, but works in progress provide insight into the comedic creative process. Like many stand-ups, Sara performed her new material in an intimate venue, allowing for greater audience interaction, which is always fun. Works in progress also tend to be a little cheaper, so wahey!

Sara, therefore, was unnecessarily apologetic about the gig’s rough and ready feel. I was laughing most of the time. And when I wasn’t laughing, it was no bad thing. For example, at one stage, Sara became visibly upset when recounting an occasion on which she was rude to a member of her audience. There was no punchline; she was simply discussing an idea. While Sara hasn’t figured out how to write comedy about the exchange yet, the subject matter was engaging and personal. In fact, it was refreshing to see a comic before they’ve figured out how to laugh at all of life’s trials. I’m confident that the Fringe show will communicate something personal, something with resonance. And, given that I laughed throughout most of Sunday’s performance, I’m sure Sara will figure out how to make the story funny.

I’ve always maintained that the best comedy tackles challenging issues with humour and wit. And, sure enough, Sara made some hilarious comments on some important topics. This ‘female comedian’ wittily discussed women’s position in comedy, criticising the gender-specific phrase and pointing out that critics use the f-word ‘like a disclaimer.’ Combined with a laugh-out loud account of what actually proved to be a pretty tragic relationship; a humorous parody of what family and friends say to us ladies when we reach typical having-a-baby age, and a surreal narrative about a well-meaning, but unfortunately mistaken, female-king/queen, Sara’s material tackled engaging and challenging subject matter in a funny manner.

From this gig, it’s clear that the robot pussycat framework needs clarification. The story isn’t entirely coherent at the moment! Also, while the digressions work as stand-alone comments, they don’t always connect very well to the pussycat narrative. The gig’s various elements are pleasing when taken one by one. Viewed as a whole, however, the show doesn’t hang together very well. The transitions from one bit to the next were often far from smooth, and the various themes need to be better interwoven if Sara is to create a cohesive and satisfying comment on empathy. To be honest though, with six months to go before the Fringe, things are shaping up pretty well.

I have two final comments for you Sara. First, your show genuinely did ruin the end of the Lost for me. You have hence lost a star. And second, I’ll go naked on the first of February if you do. Readers, if you want to know what on earth I’m talking about, and if you’re going to the Fringe this summer, check out Sara’s show. I’m betting you’ll be pleased you did.

Written and performed by: Sara Pascoe
Box office: This show has now ended.

About Hannah Blythe

Hannah Blythe
Fresh from university, Hannah moved to London this September to work for a think tank. Does that make her one of those dreaded career politicians we've heard about...? Anyway, Hannah has written for various arts sites, and began her reviewing career at the Edinburgh Fringe. She is now keen to make the most the most of the Big City. For a stand-up obsessive and long-time theatre fan, this involves seeing as many shows, gigs and performances as possible. And when she's not in a theatre, she can often be found running round a squash court.