Crawling to the stage in a feline ensemble of tail, chest fur and knee-length dress shorts, The Bedroom Philosopher (Justin Heazlewood) set the tone for the evening ahead – very funny, a little awkward and extremely cat-based. Cat Show explores the world of cats from many angles, taking a look at their history, their propensity to disappear and their place in Heazlewood’s life.
There’s an apt playfulness to Heazlewood’s performance in Cat Show. At times, he’s as fickle and coy as his show’s namesake, toying between snippets of things he could perform. At other times, the cat parallels are more straightforward. One of the best things about Cat Show is the little details that Heazlewood throws in – batting at a pinwheel in frustration, gamboling about with a bit of paper on the floor, getting that butt wiggle just so before pouncing. This is a show with plenty of cat specifics to offer.
Cat Show’s sections of stand-up and storytelling stay on theme. We’re taken through a history of cats and there’s an in-depth look at missing cat poster design. But, of course, it wouldn’t be a Bedroom Philosopher show without music, and there’s a bunch of new songs to be enjoyed here. One detailing the pitfalls of share-housing was particularly strong. In addition to the newer material, the inclusion of old favourite Happy Cow was a treat for long-time fans.
There are sections of the show that are still a little shaky, with the occasional lyrical slip-up and self-deprecating aside. Cat Show is not a polished production, by any means. It is, however, a show that is cohesively scrappy. The costume, the props, the slideshow of a third-grade history project – they all feel right alongside Heazlewood’s lyrics about people and animals whose lives aren’t quite going right.
The Bedroom Philosopher is a stalwart of the Australian comedy scene and Cat Show does not disappoint. It’s a weird show and not without its jankier moments, but there’s an underlying charm that will win over any cat lover.
Cat Show is on at The Coopers Malthouse Bagging Room until April 9