Jellicle clown: Frankie Thompson on her unmissable feline fever dream Catts – Rights History
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Jellicle clown: Frankie Thompson on her unmissable feline fever dream Catts

Her cat-tastic stage show is a riff on Andrew Lloyd Webber’s musical that swerves into emotionally raw territory. The Edinburgh fringe sensation talks about trauma, taboos and the importance of being disgusting

Was there ever a cat so clever? Move over Mr Mistoffelees, because Frankie Thompson has magicked up one of this year’s smartest stage shows with Catts, an unsettling and often wildly funny hour of clowning. It’s a feline fever dream that starts as a riff on Andrew Lloyd Webber’s whiskery musical and finds Thompson mashing up viral cat videos, clips of Postman Pat’s puss Jess and The Simpsons’ Crazy Cat Lady, and lip-syncing along to Elaine Paige and a prepubescent Jacob Rees-Mogg.

In a Puma T-shirt, her hair in buns like tufty ears, she prowls around the audience, pounds a catwalk-treadmill and relieves herself in a litter tray. Thompson’s feat is to do all this while conveying an unflinching sense of the overwhelming pressures and malaise that send so many of us seeking respite in funny cat videos. It’s a show that sounds raucous but is emotionally raw, drawing on her experience of mental illness.

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