BWW Review: MISS ATOMIC BOMB, St James Theatre, March 14 2016
Set in Atomic City, USA (otherwise known as Las Vegas), Miss Atomic Bomb at the St James Theatre transports its audience back to 1952 - a time when atomic bombs were regularly tested in the desert outside of the city, it focuses on Utahn sheep-farmer Candy, played by Florence Andrews.
Back when little was known about the side effects of fallout and atom bomb testing, Candy Johnson (Andrews) and her aspiring fashion-designer best friend Myrna (Catherine Tate) are preparing to leave their small town for California following the death of Candy's grandmother. However, just before they leave they discover that Candy's grandmother left behind debts, for which Candy is now responsible. When US Army deserter Joey (Dean John Wilson) hears of her predicament, he encourages her to sign up for the Miss Atomic Bomb beauty pageant, organized by his brother Lou (Simon Lipkin) in order for her to win the money she needs.
The characters are very cartoonish and the situations farcical - but Miss Atomic Bomb is an enjoyable, fun production. Simon Lipkin and Catherine Tate reunite following their stint in Assassins at the Menier Chocolate Factory, and this pairing produce some of the biggest laughs from the audience. Bill Deamer and Adam Long's joint direction and choreography ensures the production runs smoothly, while the clever lyrics and upbeat music is enough to have you subconsciously tapping your feet. Andrews and Wilson are likeable as young lovers, and their talent is undeniable - they really do have incredible voices.
The writing team of Long, Gabriel Vick and Alex Jackson-Long have created a unique musical - one without a whole lot of plot or deeper meaning, but on the whole, an easy to watch production. There are so many characters thrown into the mix that they feel underwritten, although the cast do the best they can with what little they have to work with. The smaller setting of the off-West End St James Theatre is just the right place for this musical.
Photo Credit: Tristram Kenton