BWW Review: EXPOSURE THE MUSICAL, St James Theatre, 28 July 2016
Exposure the Musical has been 12 years in the making and Mike Dyer's production has finally arrived at the St James Theatre. Written after the death of his father and while he was recovering from a serious motorcycle accident, the musical takes inspiration from Marlowe's Faustus, although this time instead of a scholar, the one signing their soul to The Devil is a photographer.
Jimmy (David Albury) is the son of a world-renowned photographer who died on the day he was born when he was bitten by a snake. Deciding that he wants to follow in his father's footsteps, Jimmy visits third-world and developing countries to highlight people's plight to those who would otherwise remain ignorant.
He veers away from a life of paparazzi and fashion photography, until he's asked to help childhood friend-turned-musical superstar Pandora (Niamh Perry) by taking photos of her band, where he's introduced to sleazy promotor Miles Mason (Michael Greco). Miles assures Jimmy that if he 'sells his soul' by taking paparazzi photographs embodying the seven deadly sins, he will ensure his photography gets worldwide coverage. It doesn't take long to realise that Miles is The Devil and Jimmy the oblivious Faustus in this scenario.
Taking us on a journey through the seven deadly sins via renamed London underground stations such as 'Covet Garden' and 'Sloth Square', the sins all appear in bizarre costumes, tempting Jimmy to take the offer Miles is giving him.
The major problem with the show is that it's clunky and its characters are not given any depth, leaving the audience uninterested in what's taking place on stage. In fact, I found myself looking more at the images projected on the stage walls than what was taking place in front of me. While the cast, in particular Albury and Perry, give it their best effort, the writing doesn't hold up and I startEd Checking my watch regularly in order to gauge how much longer it would go on. Natalie Anderson as Jimmy's homeless love interest is brilliant in the limited role she has, and I would have preferred to delve into her backstory a bit more.
All in all, most of the songs fall flat and, despite a strong cast, the plot and writing makes this one to avoid this summer.
Photo Credit: Alastair Muir