There’s a certain softness that is commonly associated with the character of Hello Kitty; the passive, meek anthropomorphised white cat that epitomises kawaii culture. For many, however, Hello Kitty holds negative connotations as a representation of gendered and racial stereotypes that fetishise Asian women in particular. It is these stereotypes and this denial of subservience that is explored skilfully in comedic musical Hello Kitty Must Die, which plays out like the ultimate revenge fantasy.
The story follows Fiona Yu, a 30-year-old Chinese-American woman, whose parents are desperate for her to marry, in order to fulfil the obligations of tradition. But Fiona is determined to forge her own path and does so with unexpected help from an old friend.
The strength of Hello Kitty Must Die lies in the cohesion between the five cast members, who maximise the vehemence in the songs and the cliches of their characters with very little set design or props to lean on. Though undoubtedly catchy in their arrangement, there’s often a disconnect between how quickly the story moves along and how well the songs slot into the narrative.
Still, the absurdity of Fiona’s murderous actions coupled with the addition of weird and wonderful plot points such as Mr Happy the dildo and Pepito the parakeet make Hello Kitty Must Die a musical worth seeing. If anything, you’ll leave with some great tunes in your head and the unfettered desire to bring down the patriarchy.