MISS ATOMIC BOMB
by Adam Long, Gabriel Vick & Alex Jackson-Long.
St James theatre to 9 April
12 Palace Street, London SW1E 5JA to 9 April 2016.
Mon-Sat 7.30pm. Mat Wed & Sat 2.30pm.
Runs 2h3 30 mins One interval.
TICKETS: 0844 264 2140.
Review: William Russell 16 March.
Happy radiation sickness ahead as show bombs.
This musical set in the 1950s sends up how Las Vegas treated the bomb then being tested in the Nevada desert and held beauty pageants and renamed itself Atomic City.
It fails to explode into life and is one of those ideas which probably seemed good at the time over a few drinks but should have been abandoned in the cold light of day.
The professionalism of the cast is not in doubt with the exception of the sole star name, Catherine Tate, who plays Myrna Ranapapdophilou, the heroine’s best friend, and seems uncertain as to whether she is a gal from Nevada or Australia, so wildly variable is her accent. She also looks more like the grandmother she plays on television than a would be fashion designer of admittedly hideous frocks.
The book is a rag bag of bits from others shows. The heroine, decently done by Florence Andrews, is your spunky tomboy sheep farmer who will one day put on a dress and be beautiful (everything from 42nd Street onwards to Annie to Calamity.)
The girls in the pageant consist of three broads singing a raunchy song (think the strippers in Gypsy), some comic mafia hit men out to take over the hotel where the pageant is held (think Kiss Me Kate), a Nordic blonde who cannot speak English well (The Producers) and on it goes with at least one plot line too many, plus naturally tap dancing. When in doubt tap.
However the three show girls who represent Las Vegas glamour – this is a cut price show – are leggy, lovely and get the best outfits to wear. Joey, the hero, a solder who has gone awol after watching a bomb blast in the desert, played by Dean John-Wilson, who falls for the sheep farmer, has charm. And as his gay hotelier brother Lou, who runs the pageant, Simon Lupkin is rather funny. Ms Tate is an embarrassment throughout.
When hero and heroine decamp for California – rhymed with “warn yah” which about sums up the lyrics – Ms Tate takes over as Miss Atomic Bomb in a costume of memorable horror and the cast sing and dance their way to happiness while the bomb explodes before their very eyes.
The show has some laughs, the tunes, while not particularly memorable, are pleasant enough, and it has been directed as well as could be given the material, but the whole idea of spoofing what went on in Atomic City in the 1950s fails to detonate as a good joke. They should have done Miss Congeniality instead if they wanted to send up America’s obsession with beauty pageants.
Myrna Ranapapdophilou: Catherine Tate.
Joey Lubowitz: Dean John-Wilson.
Candy Johnson: Florence Andrews.
Lou Lubowitz. Simon Lupkin.
Mr Potts: Daniel Boys.
Rebecca: Michelle Andrews.
Professor Alvin Schmul: Stephane Anelli.
Carol: Charles Brunton.
Tregunta: Jessica Buckby.
General Westcott & Mr Rosenhut: David Birrell.
Sharon Slatzky: Olivia Fines.
Henry: Ryan Gover.
Jonah: Alyn Hawke.
Sergeant Flint & Boo Boo: Sion Lloyd.
Maisy Day: Suzie McAdam.
Amos: Kirk Patterson.
Delilah: Sasi Strallen.
Co-director & Choreographer: Bill Deamer.
Co-director: Adam Long.
Set & Costume Designer: Ti Green.
Musical Director: Richard John.
Sound Designer: Gareth Owen.
Lighting Designer: Tim Deiling.
Projection Designer: Jack Henry James.