Tuesday, 15 March 2016

Review: Miss Atomic Bomb at the St James Theatre

Miss Atomic Bomb
St James Theatre
Reviewed on Monday 14th March 2016

Transporting us back to 1952 Las Vegas, Miss Atomic Bomb is a bold new musical with a satirical style not everybody is going to get. For the first ten minutes I sat in my seat wondering what on earth I was watching, but after the first few numbers I embraced the style and found myself laughing all evening.

Taking no prisoners, Adam Long, Gabriel Vick and Alex Jackson-Long's musical finds humour in the strangest of places. Miss Atomic Bomb sees the U.S. military testing its atomic bombs and taking control of the city. Despite an array of characters being faced with life-or-death situations, everyone is far more concerned about who will have their 'life changed' by being crowned the Miss Atomic Bomb beauty queen. It's bizarre, surprising fun.

The piece is still a little rough around the edges, but the supreme cast cover it up well. There are some stand out songs along the way; Dean John-Wilson and Simon Lipkin lead a showstopping tap number in the first half whilst Florence Andrews raises the roof in the second act with her solo number 'The Sun Went Down'. Lipkin is the driving force behind the piece - he can do no wrong. 

Elsewhere Catherine Tate steals plenty of big laughs and it's great to see Daniel Boys showing off huge versatility in a variety of crazy roles, and of course excelling vocally. There's also a stand out turn from the always brilliant Stephane Anelli.

I love the style and energy pumped into Bill Deamer and Adam Long's production; the three Vegas Showgirls are terrific with all the ensemble proving themselves as big personalities. The first few rows of the St James Theatre have been removed to create a larger performance area; it's effective, but the stage occasionally looks empty as little set is used. I'm not usually a fan of shows which rely too heavily on projections, but Jack Henry James' projection design is actually very impressive. 

Although I can't see it working in the West End, Miss Atomic Bomb is good fun and works well as a quirky off-West End musical. I think we need more new shows like Miss Atomic Bomb to shake up the off-West End musical scene - we always hear about exciting new off-Broadway musicals, but often new off-West End musicals fail to attract excitement from a wider audience outside of the theatre world. 

With a stellar cast, Miss Atomic Bomb provides two and a half hours of explosive fun.

Reviewed by Andrew Tomlins (Editor)

Miss Atomic Bomb runs at the St James Theatre until 9th April 2016.
Please visit www.missatomicbomb.com for further information and tickets.

Read our interviews with Simon Lipkin and Dean John-Wilson

Photo Credit: Tristram Kento

1 comment:

  1. I'm not sure I can ever go back to any other place, after an experience like this. The venues in Chicago are appropriate in space that lends so much gravitas to events. The design is sharp and environment is unbelievably good.