Home » London Theatre Reviews » How to Live a Jellicle Life: Life Lessons from the 2019 Hit Movie Musical Cats

How to Live a Jellicle Life: Life Lessons from the 2019 Hit Movie Musical Cats

Linus Karp You may have been browsing the website and read my latest interview with theatrical types. If not, then feel free to peruse it at your leisure. However, the interview itself was with a talented gentleman by the name of Linus Karp who, together with co-Producer Joseph Patterson, is presenting a show with the intriguing, and very long, title of How to Live a Jellicle Life: Life Lessons from the 2019 Hit Movie Musical ‘Cats’ at the Lion & Unicorn Theatre in London’s Kentish Town. I was lucky enough to get to see the opening night.

This is a production show where the title tells you virtually everything you need to know about the premise of the show, Linus is a fan – some may say obsessively so – of the 2019 movie Cats, and was so moved by the film that he has penned his own one-man show to talk about it. Arriving at the theatre and going through the proper routines to ensure safety, I did wonder how exactly the show would work. I took my seat and listened to the pre-show music, a mixed bag of feline themed songs, that spanned styles and quality from Floyd Huddleston’s ‘Ev’rybody Wants to Be a Cat’ from The Aristocats – which was wonderful, to possibly the worst version on ‘Memory’ I’ve ever heard. Something for everyone. The lights went down, and Linus appeared, suitably attired (if you’ve seen the poster you already know) complete with his own Cats theme – great choreography by Sam Carlyle.

Linus has put together a very informative, and very funny sort of Ted Talk style presentation about the positives of being Jellicle. Now, according to Wikipedia, “Jellicle cats are a fictional type of feline from T. S. Eliot’s 1939 light poetry book Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats”. But, just as ALW took the old poems and expanded them into a hit show and a couple of films, Linus expands on the definition and explains why each of the main cats in the film is, with one exception that I heartily agreed with, ‘Jellicle’ and therefore by definition what we mere humans need to do in order to be jellicle ourselves. By the way, it doesn’t really matter if you have seen the movie or not, as Linus very kindly gives the audience a brief overview of the ‘plot’ so that everyone is up to speed.

Despite his love of the movie, Linus does not spend an hour telling us – and the millions of people around the world – that were less than impressed with the movie, why we are wrong. Let us be honest he would be flogging a dead horse if he tried. However, what Linus does do is without giving too much away or (dad joke alert klaxon) letting the cat out of the bag, make you think about each of the main characters in a way that you may not have considered before. For example, why the casting decision for Jennyanydots was actually just right. Or the potentially unsettling relationship between Mungojerrie and Rumpleteazer. We examine just how kind Old Deuteronomy really is and see a great deal of Munkustrap. Not to mention how Bombalurina has affected Taylor Swift and the truth about Macavity. All of this, and more is covered by spoken word, song, dance, and some very effective video.

Even without interviewing him or following him on Twitter, it is obvious how much affection Linus has for the movie. He has gone into it in minute detail and brought out facts and ideas that will surprise you about the cats. He has also thought a great deal about this idea of being jellicle, and I have to say, he puts it across really well. Listening to him, and watching the show, you see a very confident performer with a wealth of skills. Actor, singer, dancer, director and writer, this boy is a quintuple threat, and there are not many of them about. And Linus really connects with the audience. There is some interactivity in the show and this feels like he genuinely wants to share and get the audience to be part of things and, I love the fact he mentioned his own Munkustrap, Joseph, who got a well-deserved round of applause for his back stage and technical work.

At this time when things are going hell in a handcart and Unprecedented has become the most over-used word in the English language, we all need something to lift our spirits and make us forget, and How to Live a Jellicle Life: Life Lessons from the 2019 Hit Movie Musical ‘Cats’ is definitely the tonic we all need. The big question is, did I change my mind about the movie after the show? I’m afraid not, but I did learn a lot and I have made the pledge to do something jellicle every day, until one day I take my own trip to the Heavyside Layer.


Review by Terry Eastham

Finally – a show that provides a jellicle discussion about the jellicle aspects of the jellicle cats in Cats and how you can apply them to your life in order to make it truly jellicle. Expect jellicle laughs, jellicle dance and a very jellicle PowerPoint presentation.

After the success of “Awkward Conversations With Animals I’ve F*cked” (Underbelly Edinburgh 2018, King’s Head Theatre & National Tour 2019) Awkward Productions are returning with yet another show about… sexy animals.

A one-man comedy that celebrates one of the biggest cinematic flops of recent years. Come along for a silly, ridiculous, very queer and unquestionably jellicle time.

Read Terry Eastham’s interview with Linus Karp and Joseph Paterson

WRITTEN BY: Linus Karp
CO-PRODUCER: Joseph Paterson
DURATION: 1 Hour (No Interval) – Latecomers will not be admitted.
WEBSITE: linuskarp.com
TWITTER: @awkwardprods
INSTAGRAM: @awkwardprods

The Lion & Unicorn Theatre
Booking to Saturday 24th October 2020


Scroll to Top