Natasha Sutton Williams spoke to Love London Love Culture about Freud the Musical and bringing it to the Vault Festival.
How excited are you about bringing Freud the Musical back to London as part of the Vault Festival?
Super excited! To my mind VAULT Festival is what the Edinburgh Fringe was when it started in 1947. Artists and audiences are able to come together to enjoy innovative, daring new work and it doesn’t cost a fortune to attend! You can see three shows a night, you can get out of your comfort zone and experience something different, and the whole London theatre community comes together, albeit in underground tunnels! Performing Freud The Musical in an underground tunnel is a bit like digging into the darker parts of Freud’s psyche, where all his juicy, grimy desires lie.
Has the show changed at all since it was last in London?
We have slightly changed the structure of the piece so that the journey of the cocaine-addled Sigmund transforming into the Father of Psychoanalysis Freud is clearer. We have added a couple new songs, including My Widdler, where a puppet who plays Little Hans, one of Freud’s most famous clients, sings about how much he loves his penis, and all of it’s special powers.
It must be huge pressure on performing as all of the characters and all of the songs by yourself – or do you thrive on the challenge?
It certainly is a challenge, but an exciting one! I have written, composed and perform the show, so I know the show inside out, and have a clear idea of exactly what I want to present to the audience. Much of my focus is on how can I make the audience laugh and gasp at the crazy antics that are taking place on stage. I am someone who dreams of perfection, so I put a lot of pressure on myself to get everything right. I am learning to enjoy my mistakes, lean into my imperfections, and just enjoy performing it! Ultimately I want the audience to have an entertaining and exciting evening out, having laughed their asses off, learnt a little more about Freud’s crazier ideas, and hum the show tunes on their the way home.
Given the fact the show is based on a true life account what sort of research did you do initially into Sigmund Freud’s life?
I have read various papers Freud wrote; one of the most interesting ones is ‘Uber Coca’. Freud is one of the first medical professionals to have written about the medicinal benefits of cocaine in 1884. He thought it was a miracle drug that could cure a variety of ailments. He even gave his father cocaine while he performed eye surgery on him! 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 not only had I not embellished them, but all the facts were true!
Do you have a favourite character in the show that you like to play the most?
There is a character that comes for therapy with Freud called Rat Man. He has a very specific fear of rats, and what he believes they will do to his dead father and his new fiancé. He is incredibly timid, although he discusses some of the more graphic material in the show. I love his contradictory nature.
What do you think audiences take away from the show?
I hope the audience will take away a tissue full of snot and tears from laughing so hard. I also hope they will come away from the show having learnt a little more about Freud and what his fans don’t want you to know.
If you could give one reason for people to come along and see the show what would it be?
Freud The Musical gleefully annihilates the father of modern psychology in a flurry of cross-dressing and dick jokes. What more do you want?
Freud the musical will play at the Vault Festival from the 14th to the 18th March. For more information and to book tickets visit: https://vaultfestival.com/whats-on/freud-the-musical/