“The bar is over in the corner there, get yourself a drink – you’ll need it”. It’s not often you’re given such advice by an usher on the way in, but it’s advice I should’ve heeded.
Molly Wobbly is a very silly new musical that revolves around an extended breast gag – it concerns the inhabitants of Mammary Lane, a mysterious potion that causes an inflamed rack, and a tit factory that isn’t really a tit factory at all. Somewhere there’s a confused message about plastic surgery and owning our bodies, but it’s buried beneath a flimsy plot that hangs between each set-piece song like gossamer.
This is a musical comedy that fails on both levels. The crude humour is juvenile at best and vile at worst, with a script that throws in references to clits, bukkake and the odd fuck purely to induce shock laughter. If a man in drag singing about a one night stand that left him with an anal prolapse is your idea of a fun night out, there’s plenty to enjoy. I’m all for a bit of camp fun, but camp is not a substitute for intelligent comedy. There is nothing clever here, only worsened by a distinct lack of comic timing. The music, meanwhile, is pedestrian, lacks originality and fails to advance the plot in any notable way.
What’s worse, it’s performed with all the finesse of a low-budget pantomime. The grotesque characterisation certainly fits with the oddball macabre style, but it just comes off as a poor man’s Tim Burton, the central role of Ithanku (Russell Morton) splicing together Edward Scissorhands with the Metz Judderman. And the usher from earlier? He’s part of a bizarre cinematic introduction that unnecessarily breaks the fourth wall, confusing what is already a convoluted plot.
Frustratingly, there is clearly some talent on stage, particularly from the three female leads. Cassie Compton and Stephanie Fearon both offer sweet vocals as Jemma and Ruth, but it’s Jane Milligan who most impresses as Margaret - the only character to provoke a laugh. The performers are so much better than this dire material.
Call me a prude. Say I’m lacking a sense of humour. Most likely, I just wasn’t drunk enough.
Watch: Molly Wobbly runs at the Leicester Square Theatre until the 14th March.
Photos: Darren Bell