Freud The Musical

With a title like Freud The Musical, I'm sure more than a few people of a certain age would instantly think of Friends and Joey's interesting turn in a jolly little musical about the father of modern psychology (Everybody now: "All you vant is a vinkle...") So it is perhaps with a little trepidation we approach this piece written, composed and performed by Natasha Sutton-Williams.

However, this is the musical Joey could have only wished for - the lyrics here are altogether rougher and ruder than Friends tame offering. Here, we see Freud consuming masses of the new wonder drug cocaine and seeing several of his most famous patients, attempting to diagnose their various neuroses, and develop his own infamous theories. The piece cleverly lampoons Freud's more misogynistic ideas, whilst keeping it light enough for a broad audience to enjoy. Although this is a solidly researched piece with many intelligent layers, there is enough here for those who know little of Freud to enjoy too. 

Director, Dominic McHale uses the small space of the Kings Head carefully and effectively, and each of the myriad characters are so physically engaged they can be read clearly. There are several delightful moments in the piece, many of these involving the sassy and sexy, ultra feminine alterego(?) of Freud, Oedipussy (half cat, half woman, naturally!) There is a fabulous sense that this imaginary construct is more clever than the man himself, so it is with some sadistic delight we quite literally watch Freud kill this manifestation of his mind near the close of the piece. Ultimately, we are left wondering if all of his patients we have seen are figments of his coke-addled imagination. 

The music and lyrics can be somewhat twee in places, but are nonetheless enjoyable. We flip flop from tiny mice squeaking over eating peoples anuses, to a furious lesbian diatribe, and... It all works! I laughed out loud the entire way through and could have happily watched another hour of this work. Sutton-Williams is an extremely engaging performer, zig-zagging from tiny child, to coke-fiend, to awkward young general, and using some clever equipment to fill out the sound of her voice in each song. She is practically a hurricane of energy, spinning and contorting across the stage, face covered in white powder. This is perfectly complemented by the stoic energy of her pianist Phil Blandford, who admirably remains straight faced through the chaos. 

A thoroughly enjoyable and clever fringe piece, I foresee big things for Sutton-Williams and with some development I think there may well be a full musical lurking here. Catch it for the last time this Sunday at 21:30 at the Kings Head!

Freud The Musical
Written, composed and performed by Natasha Sutton-Williams
Directed by Dominic McHale
Piano accompaniment by Phil Blandford
Produced by Bern Roche Farrelly

King's Head Theatre

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