Book, music and Lyrics by Barbara Jane Mackie.
Two Stars **
The Union Theatre, 229 Union Street, Southwark, London SE1 0LR to 19 November.
Tues- Sat 7.30pm Mat Sat 2.30pm.
Runs 2hrs One interval.
TICKETS: 020 7261 9876.
Review: William Russell 15 November.
Stop the world I want to get off
A fascinating story ripe with possibilities said The Stage in March 2015 about this show then being showcased at The King’s Head. Between then and now something must have happened because it is truly dreadful.
Ms Mackie’s score has its moments, her lyrics do not offend, but the book is a shambles and the reasons for thinking that this apparently true story could be material for a musical are beyond comprehension. It seems that two Hampshire ladies, members of the Women’s Institute, upset at the plight of sex workers they had seen some ten years ago tried to get their association to back the case for legalising prostitution.
In the course of making a documentary for television they visited various establishments in America, the Netherlands and New Zealand to discover a safe model for brothels but when push came to shove and the issue was put to the national association the WI ladies voted to save bees instead.
The cast is valiant, and Louise Jameson and Shirley Landels as the WI ladies, and Linda Nolan as the local Hampshire madame are true professionals carrying on regardless. As assorted sex workers some leggy lasses with admirable embonpoint strut their stuff smiling through the two hour stint, while two men play various customers, who include a local Irish priest, and, of course, some policemen. One never knew that Hampshire was such a hotbed of vice.
Whether the law is ever changed to legalise prostitution is anybody’s guess, although the programme notes suggest it could happen next year. They also reveal there are plans to make a movie about the affair. Who knows? One suspects Parliament will have other things on its mind in 2017. Sadly it was professionally impossible, but the temptation to make a swift Brexit was almost overwhelming and some people did.
Jean Johnson: Louise Jameson.
Holly Spencer: Linda Nolan.
Tricia Deighton: Shirley Landels.
Mags: Claudia Cadette.
Goisa & Texas Tilley: Sally Frith.
DC Hecks: Basienka Blake.
Carol & Ellie: Liberty Buckland.
Father Jerry & Hank: Craig Armstrong.
Trish & Celia: Scarlet Wilderink.
Sandi & Utta: Alex Roots.
Jamie & Hugo: James Charlton.
Director: Simon Greiff.
Musical Director: Paul Smith.
Designer: Gregor Donnelly.
Choreographer & Associate Director: Carly Hainsby.
Musical Arranger: Steve Parker.
Lighting Designer: Will Brann.
Sound Designer: Christopher Galler.