As a comedy actor and creator, Linus Karp has been working during the pandemic on his show how to live a jellicle life: life lessons, which had a sold-out run in October at the Lion and Unicorn Theatre, with the show receiving great reviews. The show came about after Linus took inspiration from watching the 2019 feature film of Cats earlier this year and he is taking the one-man show back to the Lion and Unicorn Theatre from the 15th to 19th December, before heading out on tour next year. We recently found out more from Linus about how he came up with the idea for how to live a jellicle life: life lessons, the sold-out run in October and what to expect from the upcoming shows at the Lion and Unicorn Theatre.
Can you tell us about your show how to live a jellicle life: life lessons which had a five-star sold out run in October?
I guess it would make a rather bad interview if I didn’t answer yes! It’s a show that provides a jellicle discussion about the jellicle aspects of the jellicle cats in Cats and how you can apply them to your life in order to make it truly jellicle. It’s ridiculous, silly and very gay – all the things you want Christmas to be!
How did you come up with the idea for the show and how long did it take to put together?
I saw the cinematic masterpiece that is Cats early 2020 and my mind was BLOWN. After that, all I did was think about Cats and talk about Cats and dream about being in Cats, so writing a show about Cats was the only natural progression. I started working on the show at the beginning of the year and then continued to slowly do so throughout lockdown, so I was able to give it way more time than under normal circumstances to make sure it was jellicle beyond measure.
How does it feel seeing great reviews of your work?
It’s overwhelming! This run was scary as it was the first time I’ve written a show myself, and as the concept is weird I wasn’t sure if people would embrace it straight away. I was so thrilled that the reviewers and audience members seemed to be having as jellicle a time as I was during the show!
What’s it been like working on the show during the pandemic?
TOUGH. Not knowing when or if I was able to put it on was tricky, and it had many setbacks before it could finally be staged with an ACTUAL audience. I have so much love and respect for everyone creating work right now. Whilst it was difficult in many ways, I also feel very lucky to have had the show to pour all my jellicle energy into during this year, to have this one fun thing in the ocean of awful that is 2020.
What can audiences expect from the upcoming Christmas run at the Lion and Unicorn Theatre?
A fun and jellicle night out! You’ll also be surprised at how many vital life lessons there are in the 2019 hit movie musical Cats and you’ll leave feeling a lot more jellicle than you did before.
Who do you think how to live a jellicle life: life lessons will appeal to and why would you recommend people watch it?
I’m actually thrilled to have seen how it’s been enjoyed by varied people of all ages! You don’t have to have seen, or like, Cats to enjoy the show but being armed with a reasonable knowledge of pop culture and political awareness is probably a good thing! Being queer – or at least queer friendly – is also a plus.
What are you looking forward to most for the Christmas run?
Having fun and doing what I love. Getting to perform and meet all the jellicle people who come along.
We understand you’re heading out on tour next year, can you tell us more about this?
I’m thrilled to be performing at the Town and Gown in Cambridge 20th-22nd of January! Last time I was in Cambridge I got locked into a bathroom for three hours, which wasn’t very jellicle at all, so I’m excited to make new and better memories this time! All being well a couple of more places will be announced soon, but before it’s official I will have to keep the jellicle secret. All will be posted at linktr.ee/jellicle as soon as I’m allowed!
Can you say about some of the other shows you’ve worked on?
The last couple of years I’ve been performing the one-man dark comedy play Awkward Conversations With Animals I’ve F*cked which saw multiple London runs, an EdFringe run and a national tour. Besides that, I also perform a lot of comedy improv with my wonderful team Geraldyne, and I’ve also done a lot of children’s theatre.
How did your career come about and when did you start creating shows?
I feel like I’m very much still waiting for it to start! As a foreigner I felt like the parts I was getting were few and far between, and rarely more than small, foreign roles. If I wanted to play interesting parts in interesting projects I would have to create said projects myself, so I did.
Where does your love of performing come from?
I remember being very little and pretending to randomly be asleep in places like the hallway. Realising that I could make my parents believe things that weren’t real was a revelation. I do believe that’s when it all started – alongside my parents fearing that I had narcolepsy.
Have you always had an interest in comedy and do you enjoy watching comedy shows?
I used to want to make serious and pretentious work – but after realising that most things I created turned out to be comedy whether I intended them to or not I just stuck with it. And really, most great things are a combination of serious and fun anyway. I love watching comedy shows! Sketch, improv, drag, theatre, cabaret, podcasts – I’ll take it all if it’s creative, clever and joyful! Some recent-ish favourites include zazU, Sam Carlyle, Joseph Morpurgo, The Guilty Feminist, Sindhu Vee, Just These Please, Mother, Munya Chawawa, Juliet Burton, Fat Rascal and, of course, all my brilliant comedy improvisers in Geraldyne! I’m also a big fan of unintentional comedy, a category in which Cats definitely falls on occasion.
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