Funny, rude and sassy, Buzz: A Musical hits all the right spots.
Fat Rascal’s Buzz A New Musical: the story of the vibrator told with wit and plenty of cheek.
Well, that was fun. After a tough couple of weeks, a musical about the history of the vibrator turned out to be a magic bullet of cheer.
Or perhaps that shouldn’t be too surprising. Since the dawn of man, women have been looking for ways to satisfy themselves without having to rely on them mainly because – as we learn – throughout the centuries, men have been too busy hunting, fighting Gauls or running away from the C word (commitment). And for much of history, female sexuality wasn’t even acknowledged by mansplainers who, well into the 20th century, continued to ignore or suppress the notion that women actually enjoy sex.
This romp through the blossoming of women’s self-satisfying desires and the machine that helped it along centres around twenty-something Angie whose vain, skinny-jeaned boyfriend of three years has just dumped her over garlic bread at Pizza Express. The ex, Mark, is the most recent embodiment of man as represented in Buzz – a hipster in a failing band, he finishes with dependable Angie for big boobed groupies and O2 sized dreams.
Devastated, Angie wallows in her penguin PJs until her best friend suggests she looks elsewhere for some satisfaction – and this pick-me-up won’t sit around in his pants all day playing computer games.
Enter the vibrator as Angie and the audience get an all-singing, all-dancing history lesson through female sexuality as she learns how to fall back in love with herself.
Cleopatra burst through a wardrobe taking us back to 50 BC where she hollowed out a fruit stone and filled it with buzzing bees who kept her amused in Mark Antony’s long absences in the Roman army. We witness the Victorian doctors who eased hysteria with dexterous figures and see the prehistoric phallic shaped objects that shocked archeologists failed to catalogue.
The musical numbers aren’t quite Les Miserables in terms of orchestration and composition (although I think this really has the potential to work on a bigger scale – the West End could do with a dose of shock and awe), but the lyrics are witty and brimming with filthy smarts. You’ll be singing the words to the finale as you head to Gloucester Road – possibly to the embarrassment of your fellow tube passengers.
Among the (many) laughs is a very real point about women reclaiming their bodies and understanding them better. More educated than ever – and more liberated than ever – women are still largely ignorant of their bodies and in the light of the recent Ched Evans case it’s apparent society still punishes women who enjoy sex.
And Buzz is singing from the rooftops that we should no longer be ashamed.