One of the most admirable things about Clara Cupcakes as a performer is that she is constantly experimenting with format, ever looking outside the box for different styles to try; in her last, it was a “Choose Your Own Adventure”, with audiences constantly prompted to direct the narrative, allowing for a different show each night. Now, with The Worst, it’s a loving pastiche of classic 8-bit video games, a la Super Mario World for the SNES; the show begins with the game seemingly glitching, requiring the tech to blow on the cartridge to start it up again.
Clara has been cast out of Seaburbia by her love, the Octo-King, and needs your help to find her way back in (he’s changed the locks). There’s lessons to be learned, items to be recovered, but it’s not all going to be fun and games, and with no save points to be found, it seems like Clara’s not going to make it out alive.
Clara seems to be constantly redefining what burlesque is – go on, give me one more show at the Festival where an octopus lays eggs, and audiences wear “Start” buttons they’re prompted to push at various points (I’ll wait) – but she quickly wins audiences over with her humour and personality and we’re all along for the ride.
Clara Cupcakes’ The Worst is on until 23 April at the Butterfly Club. Tickets are available online and at the door.