Wildcat's Last Waltz

If you had told me that halfway through Wildcat’s Last Waltz, I’d be witnessing a Northern grandmother and three audience members performing wild dance moves combined with yoga and aerobics over pounding techno…well, it’s the Edinburgh Fringe, I probably would have believed you to be honest.

Edinburgh will completely fall in love with the Wildcat of Sheffield

The Front Room at Assembly has been turned into just that – the Wildcat of Sheffield’s front room, equipped with table, two chairs and tea and coffee making facilities. We’re also welcomed with fabulous live singers performing classics such as Summertime and Dream a Little Dream of Me. The Wildcat (the comedy creation of the fantastic Joshua Welch) sits at the table partaking in her least favourite chore: dusting! After some deserved ranting, the house lights come up and we're invited to come up and get some tea and biscuits, whilst being treated to another wonderful musical interlude. This gives the audience the ability to interact with our new favourite grandmother and really breaks down the barrier between performer and audience. It’s a simple, yet effective strategy to get the audience involved with something familiar. This doesn’t seem like a show anymore, it’s just a really nice gathering of pals, old and new.

From here, the Wildcat recants hilarious stories of her past, including how she met her husband Geoffrey and mortal enemy Geoffrey’s mother. There’s relatable chat too, from the Royals and Princess Diana to her television viewing habits, especially Corrie, and a hilariously unfortunate accident she once had in Sainsbury’s. Ultimately, underneath all of the hilarity, is a show about love and loneliness. This is shown through some terrifically emotional monologues. These aren’t funny stories, they’re almost cries for help. They’re moving and very touching. It makes us realise that something small like the audience coming up to get tea really meant a lot to the Wildcat.

The biggest compliment I can give Joshua Welch about his show is that Edinburgh will completely fall in love with the Wildcat of Sheffield. I couldn’t decide whether she is the perfect talk show guest or the perfect talk show host. At the end of the day, she’s both. I found myself engrossed in her stories and impressed by the way she owned her Front Room. It was an absolute joy to sit through.

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Reviews by James Macfarlane

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Performances

Location

The Blurb

Move over Dame Jude – there's a new national treasure in town! This bold piece of theatre pierces to the heart of love, life and grief. It is a truly unique theatrical experience. The self-proclaimed 'Wildcat of Sheffield' faces the end of her days after the death of her beloved Geoff. With her razor-sharp wit and larger-than-life personality, she looks back on her past, her outrageous youth, falling in love, marriage, motherhood, ageing and loneliness. 'Utterly captivating... full of life and light and fun... powerful and poignant... fearless acting... side-splitting' ***** (LondonPubTheatres.com).

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