Pros: Side-splittingly funny cabaret-style musical.
Cons: Very few, but let down mildly by lighting and dancing.
Fashion Victim The Musical, currently on at the historical Cinema Museum, is a riot. The show is part cabaret, part gay club night, and at some point during the show I started to wonder if I hadn’t somehow been transported to the Eurovision finals. It’s completely enjoyable and a colourful medley of sights and sounds from start to finish.
The premise is a modern take on the star-crossed lovers theme. We meet wide-eyed and scheming Mimi Steele (‘Steele by name, Steele by nature’), an ambitious Canadian who catches the eye of the attractive and rather sweet, if not terribly clever, Cedric Chevalier. The musical then tells of the ups and downs of their relationship while Mimi easily climbs over people in her quest to be big in the fashion world.
The story is told through over-the-top and gloriously camp acting, and also through rather catchy and well performed songs. The songs are definite toe-tappers, although the subject of one of them leaves me feeling mildly uncomfortable (you’ll know it when you hear it).
The entirety of the performance takes place on a purpose-built catwalk with the audience sat on either side, allowing us to do our best Anna Wintour impression. Although the lights have a tendency to blind the audience on occasion, this is the closest I’ll ever get to sitting front row at Fashion Week. It fits in brilliantly with the performance, and allows the audience to feel immersed in the show.
Similarly delightful are the cast. Carl Mullaney is incredibly entertaining as compere and pseudo-narrator Jack Sparkle. He works the crowd with ease, thinks on his feet, and is tremendously funny. It’s difficult to imagine another actor in this role as it seems to be written for Mullaney.
Competing with Mullaney for star of the show is the charismatic and exceptionally talented Rosie Glossop as Mimi. You have to wonder how the girl’s elbows are coping with all the exaggerated arm and hand motions, but she really nails the characterization of Canadian-turned-Essex-Girl Mimi. Her facial expressions are perfect, she walks as if she owns the catwalk stage and she has an outstanding voice. The whole cast is very good vocally, but Glossop’s singing voice is worth the admission price alone.
There really are few drawbacks to the show – it’s clever, funny, so delightfully gaudy and a really great evening. One slight drawback is that, while the choreography is clever and adds much to the spectacle of the musical, not every member of the dance team is on point for all the moves. Hopefully this will improve past opening night and, apart from that, this production really is on point.
Overall, I enjoyed it, my parents enjoyed it, and the performance is so charming it’s hard not to love it. The cast members have big things coming to them in the future, and I imagine that next time I see them, they will have an even larger catwalk to strut down. Go see Fashion Victim – just, don’t wear socks and sandals to it. You’ve been warned.
Author: Toby Rose
Director: Robert McWhir
Music: Cayelan Mendoza
Musical director: Michael Webborn
Booking Until: 5 July 2014
Box Office: 020 7840 2200
Booking Link: http://phil459.wix.com/fashion-victim