story and lyrics by Nancy Harris and Marc Teitler book by Nancy Harris music by Marc Teirler.

Unicorn Theatre 147 Tooley Street SE1 2HZ To 24 December 2015.
10.30am 17, 18, 20, 24, 25, 27 Nov, 8-10, 17 Dec.
11am 3, 4, 15, 16 Dec.
1pm 13 Nov, 2 Dec,
1.30pm 6, 24 Dec.
2pm 14, 15, 19, 21, 22, 24, 28, 29 Nov, 5, 10, 12, 13, 17, 19, 20, 22, 23 Dec.
5pm 6 Dec.
7pm 14, 19, 21, 26, 28, 5, 11, 12, 18, 19, 22, 23 Dec.
Audio-described 19 Nov 7pm.
Integrated Sign Interpreted Performance 26 Nov, 10 Dec 2pm (sold out.
Captioned 3Dec (sold out), 12 Dec 2pm.
Relaxed Performance 20 Nov (sold out), 6 Dec 5pm.
Runs 2hr 20min One interval.

TICKETS: 020 7645 0560.
Review: Timothy Ramsden 10 November.

Baddies is, at least, a good idea.
It’s zero tolerance time for fairytale villains. The Big Bad Wolf is just about to lay into Red Riding-Hood when the constabulary arrives to arrest him. Taken to a police station, apparently on orders from COBS (Council of Bedtime Stories) he finds himself joining Cinderella’s Ugly Sisters Fay and May, plus Captain Hook, his piratical wear changed for the smart suit of the lawyer he’s become, and a put-upon Scottish Rumpelstiltskin, barely able to qualify as a genuine Baddie.

There’s counter-intuitive boldness in presenting a Christmas show largely set in a wire-mesh compound. Though the bare set’s offset by colourful costumes from Fay and May – Claire Sundin and Kelly Ogbowu sitting disconsolately together – plus Rumpestiltskin’s loudly vulgar kit, as David McKay carries the burden of three centuries’ Scottish grievance on his shoulders, frustrated that the name no-one knew throughout his story, no-one can now remember.

Less brash in garb, Dean Nolan’s Wolf, ever-protesting his essential non-baddiness in his biker gear, contrasts the restrained smoothness of MilesYekinni’s tall, slim lawyer Hook.

But, all dressed-up, they’ve nowhere to go as they sit or stand around singing efficient though unmemorable songs. Then the real villains enter. The show’s creators score 1 out of 2 here. Peter Pan is a sickeningly indulgent character, true (though from literary rather than fairy-tale land).

But Cinderella has suffered enough in her own story, and is the least credible secret villain in the canon. Much more likely Goldilocks, or another of tradition’s hard put-upon lasses.

What rings true is the modern use of virtue as a weapon of self-interest. Hence the evolution of the bestial Snuffalo into the Fluffalo (though as heard roaring here, this creature’s not evolved). Hence, even more, the glamour of patently insincere Cinders and self-preening pop-idol Pan, imposing violence on the supposed Baddies by contracts – the pen looming mightier than the tooth or claw.

As a parable of spin and sophisticated marketing it makes a shrewd point. But the story shuffles rather than spins along, as Purni Morell’s production can hardly disguise. The music remains only passably interesting, despite laying-on the climactic decibels.

Big Bad Wolf: Dean Nolan.
Ugly Sister Fay: Claire Sundin.
Ugly Sister May: Kelly Agbowu.
Rumpelstiltskin: David McKay.
Captain Hook: Miles Yekinni.
Cinderella/Red Riding Hood: Kathy Rose O’Brien.
Peter Pan: Christian Roe.
Guards: Jack Benjamin, Lila Clements.

Director: Purni Morell.
Designer/Costume: James Button.
Lighting: David W Kidd.
Sound: Edward Lewis.
Orchestrations: Marc Teitler.
Vocal arrangements: Joel Fram, Marc Teitler.
Musical Supervisor: Joel Fram.
Musical Director: Sam Sommerfeld.
Movement: Wilkie Branson.
Illustrator: Paddy Molloy.
Assistant director: Sair Smith.

Baddies: The Musical opened at the Unicorn Theatre London on 10 November 2015. It previewed there 2-8 November.

2015-11-12 15:03:48

ReviewsGate Copyright Protection