Beware of the chainsaw kitty in this year’s Fringe festival premiere of Hell’s Kitty: The Musical. Based on the 2018 horror film of the same title, this quirky theater piece showcases horror comedy in the likes of an off-Broadway musical. Audience members are invited to witness the bizarre love relationship between Nick and his cat, Angel. The toxicity of their codependent relationship appears evident in the way Nick refrains from leaving the house, and Angel ignites into a jealous rage with anyone who steals Nick’s attention. Nick’s blind spot keep him from seeing the devil that Angel really is. When bloody body parts begin turning up on the apartment floor, Angel’s destruction becomes difficult to ignore.
This quirky comedy has a lot of highlights. Most notably the actors are engaging and compelling to watch. The star of the film, Nick, played by Joey Hunt, exceptionally captures a socially awkward writer that has impeccable comedic timing. Other notable performances were from the sassy Rosemary Carrie, played by MJ Brown, who commands attention in complete diva fashion whenever on stage. The very convincing animal therapist, played by Jordan Knapp, was memorable for her warm demeanor and sweet singing voice. Whereas, Adam, the best friend, performed by Patrick Steward, made an odd and delightful sidekick to the cautious Nick. Similarly, Angel, played by Isabel Symington Caxide, was distinct in her use of non-verbal humor to create a comedic foil to Nick. Lastly, my favorite scenes in the entire performance were with actresses Toni Attell with her hilarious facial expression and Denise “Oracle” Lyles-Cook with her commanding presence and line delivery. All in all, the multitalented cast were able to shine with the clever writing, frequent musical numbers, and lighting that highlighted their skills.
However, Hell’s Kitty is not for everyone. Given its campy content and minimalist set design, some audience members may have difficulty appreciating this piece. More than anything, Hell’s Kitty is silly and playful. It challenges you to suspend your disbelief. Unsurprisingly, there is also a large amount of focus placed on cats. Audience members who do not have cats may find it difficult to relate to Nick’s plight dealing with a finicky feline. Additionally, this piece is one of the longer shows at Hollywood Fringe with a 90-minute-long run time. Critics may argue that the musical could be significantly edited to create a more powerful narrative. However, in its current form, the majority of the actors are able to have significant speaking and singing roles.
Hell’s Kitty is memorable and will stick with you. Even if it is not your cup of tea, there are aspects of it that you will likely enjoy and relate to. The bizarre love triangles that develop create an unexpected and compelling narrative that creates tension in audience members eager to witness Angel’s reaction. The high level of puns, double entendres, and feline humor, will surely make any audience member laugh whether feline friend or foe. For a fun night full of laughs and awkward moments at this years’ Hollywood Fringe, see Hell’s Kitty. Tickets are on sale and can be purchased here.