BWW Reviews: FASHION VICTIM - THE MUSICAL, The Cinema Museum, June 26 2014
A year or so ago, Wag! - The Musical was receiving some of the worst reviews ever to be flung at a West End show. Many of the same criticisms could be levelled at Fashion Victim - The Musical (continuing at the Cinema Museum until 5 July). But making musical comedies is a strange alchemy and this one just about gets away with it - indeed, it often does rather more than that.
Mimi Steele (Rosie Glossop in a push-up bra) is on her way to being the Next Big Thing and doesn't mind whom she clambers over on the greasy pole to the top. She soon ropes in beefcake eye candy Cedric Chevalier (James Wilkinson in a highly optional shirt) and the couple are papped until the pips squeak. Wouldn't you know it, the affair cools and Mimi turns her attention to Reality TV's Tarquin Brockhutch (Arron Blake, a lycra-clad likely lad), before arch-enemy Jake Spangle (Carl Mullaney channeling the spirit of Boy George's long-lost little brother) wreaks his revenge on Me! Me! Me! Mimi.
Part-cabaret (sometimes part-Cabaret), part-fashion show, part-musical, this production fails to convince in any of those genres. But it doesn't matter! It's enormous fun with some catchy (and some dodgy) songs, some sexy (and some ropey) dancing and some good (and some terrible) jokes. It's more a summertime adult panto than anything else - so go along with that in mind and you'll have a hoot!
And yet... there could be something really good here. Some of the acting is top notch - Arron Blake is very funny indeed and Carl Mullaney is wonderfully engaging in a Panto Dame style. There are hints between the gags too, of the toll taken on the young stars of our vacuous pop culture - the victims of a fashion that can wane as quickly as it waxes. Add a couple more characters, give Tarquin and Mimi's BFF Chloe (an underused Aimee Barrett) much more to do and stir in a little more jeopardy, and this slightly blown up one-hour one act show could make a much more satisfying full evening. Writer/director Toby Rose has given us a pleasing diversion - but he might give us a lot more one day.