The Fringe Festival might be in full flow, but Edinburgh it isn’t the only place to experience risky, theatrical antics this August. London’s getting its own slice of the action too. The cosy downstairs cabaret lounge at the Leicester Square theatre has been camped up, razzle-dazzled and ransacked to house Stuart Saint’s pumped, inebriated, psychedelic production of Saucy Jack and the Space Vixens …that well-known gem (flop).
The audience are awoken with pre-show entertainment before settling in for a tale of “grisly murder and tacky footwear,” as it is so neatly described by the feisty Jubilee Climax, played by Jamie Birkett. What this show isn’t is a) for the self-conscious b) for the fainthearted or c) good, BUT it is riotously funny and completely comfortable in its own skin. Never pretending to be loftier or more creditable than it merits, the musical (simply put) is what it is. More importantly, it is proud and excited to be exactly that – a musical about fictitious Space Vixens on the search for “love, respect, independence and good head.” You get the picture.
The energy and commitment of the cast is infectious
Having said that it’s not good, the second half actually is. Very good. The energy and commitment of the cast is infectious; they lead the crowd with them into a state of disco-induced reverie. Forgive the limited sound equipment, the orchestrations on track, and the awkward opening and actually, the tunes are varied and catchy and the hollow story is engaging and funny. Each of the ten strong cast are worthy of mention, but Leanne Jones as Space Vixen Fanny Lingus and Ralph Bogard as formidable club owner, Jack De’ath give particularly impressive all-round performances. Marcus Reeves takes the comedy prize for his dry interjections as Dr Von Whackoff and Mitch Maypole, played by Kristopher Bosch, builds to an exhilarating climax in a revealing number that, frankly, steals the show.
So, “Come, kick-back, relax at Saucy Jack’s,” for in all honesty, what is entertainment without a grape-vine and an emphatic bum-slap? Just don’t go suited and booted expecting Moliere or Shakespeare; go with friends, have a cocktail (or five) and remember that before you go to heaven, you have to park your bike!
*** (3 stars)
Runs until 15th September (check for specific dates)