21st February 2022

An Awkward Conversation with the Jellicle Linus Karp

Theatre Editor Jay Darcy talks to Awkward Productions’ Linus Karp about his new show, how to live a jellicle life: life lessons from the 2019 hit movie musical ‘cats’
An Awkward Conversation with the Jellicle Linus Karp
Back in 2019, we reviewed the controversial Awkward Conversations with Animals U’ve F*cked. Now, Awkward Productions is back – bigger, better, badder and madder than ever before – with a new show – how to live a jellicle life: life lessons from the 2019 hit movie musical ‘cats’.
Whilst we previewed Awkward conversations, the show ended up being even wackier than we anticipated, so this time, I decided to sit down with Awkward Productions’ Linus Karp, the wry writer and sassy star of Jellicle, to better prepare us (and you) for what is sure to be a shocking show.
You’re a theatre-maker, not just an actor. Is it liberating to have control over the creative process, to be with it from script to stage?
I do enjoy the creative control! But I also find it difficult to ever be finished – I can’t stop tweaking the script and adding and removing sections and jokes as I go along. The Manchester audience will definitely have a show that’s a bit different from what the people in Bristol, where the show started, saw. But I do think that just means the show is more alive and keeps getting better and better.
What exactly is Jellicle‘s relation to Cats? Is it a tribute or a parody? What made you want to use Cats as a source/text?
Both! My love for the film Cats is genuine, and I think it’s because I love it so much I can also talk about the weirdness of it without it coming across as me slagging it off. There is so much fun to be had with the terrific/terrible weirdness of the film (delete as you see appropriate). I think it’s also important to mention that you don’t have to have seen Cats to enjoy the show – I wanted it to be a comedy show in it’s own right and about half of the audiences haven’t seen the film and still seem to have a good time – though having seen it is an added Jellicle bonus.
Jellicle has received rave reviews. What’s it like seeing critics and audiences alike praise your work?
Feels about time, to be honest. But genuinely it is such a thrill – I was so nervous before opening as I was scared it’d be a show only I could enjoy, so to see others enjoy, relate and laugh is the best feeling.
How does this show compare to Awkward Conversations? Are you aiming for a similar audience?
They are both funny, but Awkward was also a tragic play whereas Jellicle is a silly comedy through and through, though I think both appeal to an open minded and often young and queer audience.
Both shows involve animals – is this purely coincidental, or do you enjoy using animals in your art? If so, why?
Haha, maybe I do have a problem! I’d like to think it’s coincidental, but I also think it’s funny how differently a character can be perceived depending on whether it’s human or animal. Awkward Conversations revealed and made fun of a lot of our relationship quirks by making one of the characters animal. And I do find it funny how the stage version of Cats is seen as such a family musical with a lot of children coming to see it, when the performers are constantly thrusting, grinding, and rubbing themselves on each other. Had they not been dressed as cats it would not be considered child friendly! I’ll definitely move away from animals for the next couple of shows though!What’s in the pipeline for the future? You seem to have outdone yourself with Jellicle. Are you on a constant mission to outdo yourself? Do you worry that there will come a point where you can’t possibly be any more provocative?
Is that a challenge? The next show is going to be more queer and political than anything I’ve done – I don’t go into it with the intention of making it provocative, but it’s probably not a show for Daily Mail readers.
Intrigued? how to live a jellicle life: life lessons from the 2019 hit movie musical ‘cats’ plays at The Edge on 25th and 26th February, before heading to London and Belfast for its penultimate and final shows.
Jay Darcy

Jay Darcy

Theatre Editor. Instagram & Twitter: @jaydarcy7. Email: [email protected]

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