Monday, 2 February 2015

Review: Molly Wobbly at the Leicester Square Theatre

Molly Wobbly
Leicester Square Theatre (The Lounge)
Reviewed on Friday 30th January 2015

What to say about Molly Wobbly? It's quite possibly one of the most bizarre and absurd evenings I have spent in a theatre. Reading the programme notes by Paul Boyd, the writer/director, it's clear that the late Christopher Malcolm (the original Brad in The Rocky Horror Show) has had a hand in the nurturing and development of this show: unsurprising as this show has 'cult' written all over it and echoes of that show resound strongly throughout this piece.

Alan Richardson as Catholic Nun and Conleth Kane as Jak
The plot follows the extraordinary exploits of 'Ithanku', a stooping green-haired orphan from Romania (played convincingly by Russell Morton), who arrives in the small provincial town of 'Little Happening' somewhere in the UK and sets about transforming the lives (and bodies) of the inhabitants of Mammary Lane. 

The spirited cast of eight do a good job of bringing the arch material to life and the double entendre and quasi 'Carry On' sexual puns seem to go down a treat with the majority of the audience, although the humour was all a little obvious for my taste. Particularly noteworthy is Alan Richardson, a great comic actor who commits fully to extremely apathetic usher, fundamentalist nun and over-sexed tranny in equal measure.

Molly Wobbly does well as a late night piece of curio: as a musical though, it fairs less well. The narrative lacks depth, the songs all seem to be at least twice as long as they need to be, sometimes have very little point at all ('Guardian Angel' being a case in point) and the thin story really doesn't need to stretch to two acts. From a production point of view, it beggars belief to use non-amplified voices with amplified backing tracks, resulting in barely-heard lyrics and the feel of a low budget cruise ship production. 

The Leicester Square Theatre is perfectly placed within Soho to draw the kind of audience this show needs. The multitude of nearby bars and clubs certainly won't harm: I could imagine seeing this show at the 9.45pm performance after a good amount of imbibing would give the experience a whole new dimension.

Reviewed by Jody Tranter

Molly Wobbly runs at the Leicester Square Theatre until Saturday 14th March 2015.
Please visit for info and tickets.

Photo Credit: Darren Bell

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