Pros: A cult show for disco lovers and 90s nostalgics.
Cons: The singing needs some polishing.
I am writing this review with my jaw still sore from all the laughter, while proudly displaying my “Space Vixen” badge. If you – like me – grew up in the 90s watching music channels and Japanese superhero cartoons, you will love everything about this show.
Saucy Jack’s is a dodgy nightclub hidden in a dark corner of the galaxy. Every night, under the watchful eye of the sly master Jack (Hugh Stubbins), its stage is animated by wannabe stars like Vulva Savannah (Sophie Cordwell) and Sammy Sax (Ashton Charge), while Booby Chevalle (Caspar Cordwell James) serves the tables and Mitch Maypole (Kristopher Bosch) takes care of the cocktails and chats to the regular Dr Willy von Whackoff (Tom Whalley). When Savannah is found dead, with a slingback stiletto lodged in her heart, the fearful team pleads for the intervention of the Space Vixens with the song “All I need is Disco”. Through the power of Disco, the three galactic shrews will unmask the murderer and bring joy and success to the lives of the hopeful bunch.
Over twenty years after its first performance at the Edinburgh Fringe, Saucy Jack and the Space Vixens can be considered a cult icon of the true 90’s vibe. Think Spice Girls meets late Depeche Mode, with their electro-synth pop and sparkling or neon plastic clothes. The Space Vixens make their first appearance singing “Glitter Boots Saved My Life”, which recounts the adventurous deeds of the three glamorous heroines. Jubilee Climax (Jamie Birkett), Anna Labia (Lorna Hall) and Bunny Lingus (Zoe Nicholls) look stunning in their outfits, created by designer Mary Jones. Costumes, hair and makeup do really deserve a special mention as the show would not be the same without this elaborate combination of factory basics and bespoke elements. I could spend hours describing how every little detail of the superhuman chicks reflected the real spirit of the 90s, and how glitter was generously and beautifully applied on every suitable surface.
The cast is quite strong and the choreography is well rehearsed. The only reason this show doesn’t get my full five stars is the often disappointing singing, which is probably not helped by amplification issues in this restricted space. Nevertheless, some of the performers are outstanding, including Jamie Birkett who played the queen of glitter boots at the Leicester Square Theatre back in 2006.
The most amazing thing is that Saucy Jack and the Space Vixens represents the dawn of immersive theatre, brought to the public long before immersive became a trend in theatrical performance. At the King’s Head – which happens to be the oldest running pub theatre in London – the audience is invited to bring in a drink and enjoy what happens all around. The set, built at 360 degrees, has some genius additions and is supported by an appropriately vivid use of lighting. To the great amusement of onlookers, some spectators got pulled into the action and I also had my fair share, with Jack nearly sitting on my lap. Flock to the King’s Head Theatre for this highly entertaining and brilliant piece of contemporary theatre.
Composer: Jonathan Croose and Robin Forrest
Lyricist: Charlotte Mann, Michael Fidler
Director: Michael Fidler
Musical Director: Samuel Morgan-Graham
Choreographer: Lorna Hall, Spencer Leven
Producer: Hannah Johnson, Miles Leven
Box Office: 0207 226 8561
Booking Link: https://kingsheadtheatre.ticketsolve.com/shows/873548960/events
Booking Until: 21 May 2016