SLAMDANCE 2021 Premiere – Marie (Aurora Florence) is just like any other beautiful, young, modern pin up girl. She’s got a wonderful best friend, a cute little place, and like all of us, she struggles with work and finding her purpose. Oh, and one other thing–she has an intense passion for taxidermy. That, and her whole life is shared to us through joyous song. Oh and don’t forget, she has crushing, debilitating anxiety.
The Anxious Taxidermist is a brilliant pilot for the episodic tales of Marie–born from the mind of Aurora Florence. Equal parts Christine McConnell, Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, and Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, The Anxious Taxidermist is a poppy musical tribute to the anxious people of the world. Beautifully nuanced and heart wrenching, Florence isn’t afraid to cry and shake and hyperventilate through her “rock bottom” moments. These gutting moments are properly swept up in musical interludes–with brilliant pacing, that keeps things light in spite of the delicate subject matter.
Zany and wonderfully colorful vintage-themed art design creates a timeless flair, and a delightful charm. The music, written by Florence, is equal parts old Hollywood and modern pop musical. Light, airy music that puts a shiny veneer over ugly feelings and traumas. Marie’s mother judges her, harshly criticizes her for her “hobby,” and sends her spiraling into a panic attack–which leads to a touching and powerful eleven o’clock number that leads us into the end of the pilot episode.
From start to finish, we are completely swept up in the magical world Florence and co-creator Jeff Dickamore have invented. Real world meets fantasy musical extravaganza, in an off-kilter, quirky world that reflects on mental health and how we cope. Important subject couched in something fun and deliciously watchable. I ate it up, and have all my fingers and toes crossed (and tapping) for more!
The Anxious Taxidermist is currently playing at Slamdance 2021.
8 out of 10 Stuffed Squirrels