Review: Tarantino Live (The Musical Experience)

4 Star

Tarantino Live: Fox Force Five and the Tyranny of Evil Men, or Tarantino Live for short, is a rock musical blending iconic songs and scenes from Quentin Tarantino’s Cinematic Universe. A mixture of Broadway-style musicals and blockbuster movies in one action-packed show. Featuring scenes and songs from some of Tarantino’s most famous films, including Pulp Fiction, Kill Bill, Django Unchained, Reservoir Dogs, Inglorious Basterds, Jackie Brown, The Hateful Eight, Death Proof, and Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.

Rather than an adaption of Tarantino’s films, this play is more an amalgamation of some of the most famous scenes from his movies reimagined into a new story. Here we have the tale of the “Fox Force Five,” as they set out to get revenge on the Tyranny of Evil Men. The storyline is action-packed, blending different eras into something new.

Fox Force Five

Fox Force Five

First mentioned in Pulp Fiction, the Fox Force Five is a fictitious TV show that Mia Wallace starred in the pilot of. In this version, the Fox Force Five are five of Quentin Tarantino’s famous female characters—the Blonde Fox is The Bride from Kill Bill. The Black Fox is Jackie Brown. The French Fox is a hybrid between, Fabianne from Pulp Fiction and Shoshanna from Inglorious Basterds. The Japanese Fox is O-Ren from Kill Bill. Finally, the Mexican Fox is Butterfly from Death Proof with a hint of Santanico Pandemonium (the vampire in From Dusk Till Dawn). These ferocious females take on an epic battle against a mixture of Tarantino’s male characters. Known as the Evil Men, from assassins to nazi soldiers, slave owners to Samurai warriors, these are the worst of the worst men.

The Tyranny of Evil Men

Tarantino Live is described as a Broadway-style 360-degree immersive experience. So, I had high expectations for the vocal performances. I was not disappointed, notably Karen Mav as Jackie Brown, Cleo Caetano as Butterfly and Anton Stephans as Jules. The fully immersive pop-culture experience is provided by the unusual seating options. You can sit on cabaret-style tables around the stage or in the stalls. Either way, the show is played out all around you, not just on the staging. The performers and the live band moving around help to create the immersive experience as advertised.

For me, Quentin Tarantino’s movies are iconic because of the combination of memorable soundtracks and quotable scenes. His retro playlists contained the perfect mix of pop, rock’n’roll and original new scores. Whilst Tarantino’s films gained a lot of press because of their violence, film fans still quote his movies years on. Combining these elements into something new is an excellent idea, especially as it is done well; they even include a pinch of violence.

Tarantino Live

As I mentioned, the play combines different eras from Tarantino’s movies. Meaning you are transported from 90s LA to 40s France within one scene. This creates some interesting new clips. Notably the famous “Stuck in the Middle With You” sequence from Reservoir Dogs (where Mr Blonde tortures the policeman). It is now interlaced with Jules’ “say what again” speech from Pulp Fiction. Or the scene where O-Ren and The Bride sword fight from Kill Bill is intertwined with the adrenal shot scene from Pulp Fiction.

The Bride and O-Ren

I consider myself a fan of the Quentin Tarantino Cinematic Universe. I found some references were lost on me; I think this was because it had been a while since I had seen some of the movies. However, this didn’t stop my enjoyment of the show. Even if you aren’t familiar with Tarantino’s work, you could still enjoy this show. I found it interesting to see these iconic scenes played out live. 

Tarantino Live is on at London’s Riverside Studios until the 13th of August.
📍 Riverside Studios, 101 Queen Caroline Street, Hammersmith, London, W6 9BN

I was invited to the Press Event of Tarantino Live, and all opinions are my own.
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