Guest Blog: Natasha Sutton Williams On FREUD THE MUSICAL

Guest Blog: Natasha Sutton Williams On FREUD THE MUSICAL
Natasha Sutton Williams
in Freud The Musical

I first came up with the idea for Freud The Musical when I was 17. I thought it would be funny if Freud was essentially an idiot who had an imaginary cat-woman friend called Oedipussy who fed him all of his revolutionary ideas.

The idea stuck with me. While I was studying musical theatre at Arts Educational, I would sit at the piano and come up with silly songs about Freud before class. When I found out that Freud was a cocaine addict, that he thought it was a miracle drug and prescribed bags of cocaine to his patients, that sealed the (drug) deal for me.

Several years later, I was on an Arvon musical theatre writing course, led by Nick Stimson and Willy Russell, who wrote Blood Brothers. I had never showed anyone my Freud The Musical sketch but I thought "Screw it! Let's put it out there".

I had written it for six actors to perform, but for this showing I performed all the parts at the piano. The group loved it, and Nick and Willy said I didn't need any other actors, that I should just do it as a one-woman show. So I did!

That's where the cross-dressing comes in. I had never intended to play Freud, but with a 'Do It Yourself' attitude I jumped into the drag world. I play six different characters, including the raging lesbian Dora, the anal Rat Man and Little Hans, the original Freudian motherfucker. All three are real life patients of Freud's.

Guest Blog: Natasha Sutton Williams On FREUD THE MUSICAL
Natasha Sutton Williams
in Freud The Musical

One-person musicals are a formal beast: how will the characters sing with each other? How can you create harmonies with yourself? That's where the loop station came in.

I discovered this amazing machine (my one is specifically for beat boxers) where I could layer my voice and create two-, three-, four-, even 100-part harmonies! It's a challenge to keep innovating in theatre, but I've been able to expand the one-person musical genre by using the loop station to sing multiple parts simultaneously.

The show is based on true events and patients from Freud's life. However, this musical is a version of Freud's life that his fans don't want you to see! The show reveals many of his rather more unhinged ideas, and the bungling way he dealt with many of his patients while he was figuring out his psychoanalytic practice.

There are many patients he did help, but there are many he didn't, including one man who eventually died from a cocaine overdose, having been prescribed this 'cure all' drug by Freud to wean the client off his morphine addiction.

During our last production, one reviewer who came who came to see the show said afterwards that they went to research some of the more bizarre details in the show, and realised that not only had I not embellished them, but all the facts were true.

Ultimately, this show is for the audience's entertainment. I have done my job if you come out of the theatre with a tissue full of snot and tears from having laughed your ass off. So, if you like cross-dressing, puppets with penises made of cigars, defiant lesbians, toe-tapping tunes and heaps of cocaine, this is the show for you.

Freud The Musical at VAULT Festival 14-18 March

Photo credit: Alicia Clarke

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