Pros: Laugh-out-loud naughty humour and a bananas plotline!
Cons: The innuendo (and the just plainly explicit) may go too far for the prudes among us.
The original title of the musical, Molly Wobbly’s Tits Factory, lines the artistic stomachs of theatre goers a bit more than the now truncated Molly Wobbly. You might ask, who’s Molly? Why is she Wobbly? Nevertheless, I think I prefer the less graphic naming, because coming to this show with no expectation of the plot’s twists, turns and tits meant I could enjoy the element of surprise. And surprise this show does!
The location is fantastic: nudged between Chinatown and the unending bustle of Leicester Square in Leicester Place, it feels cool and unpretentious, almost undiscovered – a rarity for such a central venue. Molly Wobbly is presented not on the main stage but downstairs in the groovy Lounge of Leicester Square Theatre, which is a great space for this type of comic musical where the beauty is in the dirty detail. Having visibility of every exaggerated look, every raised eyebrow, every bra strap, and every interaction of the performers was great, and with the room full of people the atmosphere was relaxed and warm.
The plot follows three couples living in the nondescript town of Little Happening, suffering from a cultural and physical inertia. In short they’re all really really bored, and the women are feeling awfully neglected. Desperate for a life-makeover, they find themselves easily manipulated by the creepy charms of a mysterious visitor to the town.
Wonderfully bizarre and toe-tapping musical numbers ensue, all well written and generally very funny. The certificate is most definitely 18, with sexual innuendo galore; I personally enjoyed it, but if that isn’t your cup of tea you might find it just a bit too naughty. If you like The Rocky Horror Show you’ll appreciate what the creators are doing here – the sex is more about style than substance.
The cast and their characters were very watchable, and each in different ways which made for compelling variety. Especially effective was their commitment to the absurd parody of Little Happening and its goings on – silliness is all the more amusing when it’s delivered with sincerity! Singing voices were strong on all counts, and Conleth Kane’s Mariah Carey-esque vocal gymnastics were particularly hilarious. Not a weak link in the chain.
The projection of cinematic opening credits was a nice touch, as it put us all in a jazzy mood for curtain up (I’m speaking collectively for the whole audience, but I just felt jazzy vibes everywhere – we all wanted it). The lighting design was full of movement throughout, appropriately echoing the movement on stage, which kept up the pace. The direction was similarly nimble, and particularly smart on those occasions where the different couples’ activity overlapped – assisted by the neatly arranged musical numbers. I can see Molly Wobbly working well on a UK tour, with bigger lights, and room for even more sparkles and camp dancing.
Though this musical focuses on the infamously boring Little Happening it’s anything but boring. There is a lot happening here, and I’d recommend the musical to anyone who appreciates the joys of uncensored bawdiness, and brightly coloured hairstyles.
Book, Music and Lyrics: Paul Boyd
Produced By: Martin Witts and Lesley Ackland
Choreographer: Sarah Johnston
Musical Director: Matthew Reeve
Associate Musical Directors: Jonny Martin and Jonny Colgan
Designed By: Diego Pitarch
Assistant Designer: Cleo Harris-Seaton
Lights Designed By: Tom Kitney
Sound Designed By: Jonny Dickie
Video Content Created By: Blacknorth
Booking Until: 14 March 2015
Box Office: 08448 733433
Booking Link: http://www.leicestersquaretheatre.com/