In The Worst Clara Cupcakes is the queen octopus who has been evicted from Seaburbia by her love, the King, and this is her quest is to find a way back into the castle and attempt to win him back. She desperately wants to get back into the castle to prove to King that they are meant to be together but romantic relationships, like adventure games, are not that straight forward.
Clara utilises her bright and quirky burlesque performance style in many entertaining ways during her hero’s journey. Each stage of her game play is an attempt to win her way back into the castle and King Octopus’ heart. She tries to do that through a seductive strip tease, a reverse psychology song played on the ukulele, and a delightfully fun bit of audience participation. But with no save points to be found her attempts fail, so it’s game over and she ends up back at the start.
The Worst is full of 8-bit charm, from its music and styling to Clara’s movements, and little touches such as at the beginning when the shows tech inserts the game cartridge, and needs to blow on it to make it work. These details will delight old school computer game fans. There’s the on-screen pop-up character who, like a concerned friend, tries to offer helpful (if amusingly annoying) advice to Clara in her adventure. But Clara wants to find all things on this journey for herself. There are many ways you can try to get a relationship back, but sometimes you need to find the all-important save point that allows you to accept that things are The Worst and move on.
Elly Squires, as her alter ego Clara Cupcakes, has created a hugely entertaining show about how hard dealing with the end of a relationship can be, all the while keeping to a fun bright retro computer game aesthetic. If you’ve ever had to deal with heartbreak or you love video games, The Worst is a fabulously kitschy fun time.
The Worst is on at The Butterfly Club until April 23rd