Fringe review: PUMP!

Cat Montgomery strips down her set-up for her most personal cabaret


PUMP! by Cat Montgomery (Cat and the Queen). At Theatre Passe Muraille Mainspace. July 7 at 5:15 pm, July 9 at 8 pm, July 10 at 4:30 pm, July 12 at 10:45 pm, July 13 at 6:45 pm. See listing. Rating: NNN 


We’ve seen Cat and the Queen, Cat Montgomery‘s theatrical cabaret alter ego, many times before most recently, in the sci fi experience Love In Space at Assembly Theatre, which was transformed with black lighting and neon highlights. PUMP! eschews those trappings for a bare bones set-up for her band (Dave Love on drums, Quinn Hoodless on saxophone) and two keyboards — one in her childhood practice space on the floor of her parent’s closet, the other in her adult apartment, where she’s using booze and Instagram to cope with a bad break-up.

Montgomery’s press materials state this is her most autobiographical cabaret to date, which goes against her inclination toward camp and wild fancy. Talking about break-ups and Instagram stalking seems mundane compared to her past imaginings of space adventure and fantastical animals. To be fair, her childhood self does reference He-Man’s Battle Cat as a Patronus (before that term was popularized).

Much of PUMP! features Montgomery directly addressing the audience about her childhood dreams and adult wallowing. She’s done this in the past to better effect by also using the band as conversational foils they’re under-utilized by Montgomery and director Bri Poke here.

Montgomery’s still very funny and charming, even playing drunk and bitter, and her songs are entertaining — though the cavernous Passe Muraille upper space regretfully swallows the lyrics of the show’s louder numbers. For Fringe patrons, this may be a decent introduction to a local live act, but the restrictions of the festival and space keep it from being a crown jewel. 

@GracingTheStage

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