Clara Cupcakes: The Worst

4 stars

Chiptunes, sprite graphics, and all the hallmarks of late 80s video games provide the setting, but Clara Cupcakes is the meat of this show, and deliciously madcap octopus meat at that.

In Clara Cupcakes: The Worst, our host takes us on a nostalgia-fuelled adventure through the worst video game ever made.

 Image courtesy of 42nd Street Photography

Image courtesy of 42nd Street Photography

We’re introduced to her eponymous character, the protagonist of a video game, through some wonderfully retro design. As we listen to the introduction and watch the surprisingly authentic images on screen, we get a sense that all is not quite right in this game’s world.

Giggling with saccharine sweetness one moment and shifting seamlessly into unhinged, maniacal laughter the next, this performer is an absolute gem to witness in action.

The story underpinning this show is clearly a personal one and, judging by Cupcakes’ post show reaction, one that takes an enormous emotional toll.

Clara Cupcakes: The Worst is a show filled with video game tropes. The fantastic recurring device of not having progressed far enough to save will ring true with early gamers as much as it will with anyone struggling to get over something.

Cupcakes’ interaction with the AV is a real highlight. The pacing is just right, with no stilted moments, and she conveys the frustration of a player lost in a game to great effect. Her movement beyond AV interaction is big, visually loud, and easily fills the small performance space.

This eclectic show rattles along at such a pace that the hour simply flies by. Second night blues weren’t evident in any way, with Cupcakes' hugely enthusiastic performance deserving the thunderous applause, feet hammering on the boards, and standing ovation she received.

Tickets available from the FRINGE WORLD website.


GLEN SEABROOK-BENSON