St James Studio
Reviewed on Monday 11th July 2016
Carter Brown, Richard Hartley and Richard O'Brien's musical The Stripper is a crazy show bound to raise a few eyebrows. Benji Sperring's production transforms the intimate St James into Club Extravaganza; the stage has been slightly reconfigured whilst for the first time in the studio, audience seating is allocated.
There are some terrific numbers; Hannah Grover in particular stands out with incredibly powerful vocals that fill the entire space and beyond. Elsewhere it's impossible to take your eyes off Gloria Onitiri who shows huge versatility throughout - over the past few years Onitiri has jumped from diverse project to diverse project, she is at the top of her game and never fails to impress.
Although it's interesting to see something different being done with the St James Studio, the majority of Sperring's production is directed face on meaning those sat along the right of the stage miss some of the action and feel as if they are peering in from the wings. It's fantastic to see a decent sized band accompanying the actors, sounding magnificent throughout.
If The Stripper was re-shaped as more of a themed cabaret without a dreary, drawn out script I think we would be onto a winner, but in its current form The Stripper is trying to be something it's not and the show does not work. Nevertheless, with some brilliant songs, superb performances and a wonderful band there's still plenty to enjoy.
Reviewed by Andrew Tomlins (Editor)
The Stripper runs at the St James Studio until 13th August 2016.
Please visit www.stjamestheatre.co.uk for further information and tickets.
Photo Credit: David Freeman