Saucy Jack and the Space Vixens
Kings Head Theatre, 26th April – 21st May 2016
Review by Richard Lambert 29/4/16
***** 5 Stars
Having seen almost everything done at the Kings Head this is totally different! Gone are the usual “no budget 4 Black Boxes and single sofa loaned by friends of the cast” and in its place is a (relatively speaking) lavish nightclub belonging to Saucy Jack. Gone are the usual mouldy stained brick walls, you can’t see trailing twin and earth cables that should be flex, and you don’t wonder how the venue gets away with being so tatty. This new look Kings Head has been transformed into a nightclub with a huge glitterball in the centre, tables for your drinks, a bar and of course a small stage podium for the entertainment.
But of course the venue staff bring you down to earth with the obligatory audience “welcome” speech which tells you how much better they are than other pub theatres, and how dare some companies even offer profit share. The speech deliverer holds a bucket for donations which you’ll be shown again on your way out after the show. Self-congratulatory bollocks. What they don’t say is that the cast on profit share shows have chosen to participate in those shows. They weren’t forced to. And profit share shows don’t generally start by shaking buckets asking for money even though they might have more need than the Kings Head Theatre who appear to have 22 staff listed in the programme!
Mary Jones Set is the best set I’ve ever seen at the Kings Head. It’s detailed and seedy and works so well in the small space. The acting areas are minimal but carefully designed to integrate with the audience in several sections with effective walkways for strutting. It’s clear the Director, the Designer and the Choreographer passionately embraced this musical and the result zings!
As you enter the cast are milling around as Nightclub hosts making you feel very welcome. The nightclub is called Saucy Jack and it’s owned by a pantoesque villain “Jack” (less Saucy, more Onslow from “Keeping up Appearances”).
With a script that’s hilariously full of deouble entrendre of the adult variety, character names such as Jubilee Climax, Chesty Prospects, Dr Willy von Whackoff, and Bunny Lingus, lots of dance numbers you know you’re in for a treat. And yes, this show delivers!!!
The Choreography is so clever! We’re treated to Slick Block formations, occasional breakout where you need to see everyone everywhere all at once, and occasional tongue in cheek “backing vocal” style “less is more” combinations. All the moves done to perfection by the talented cast!
The immediate effect of the lighting rig, designed by William Frost, is to create a super saturated colour palette that is vibrant and energetic. The interchange between tungsten for “the acting” and LED for “the zany” is just brilliant! The initial entrance of the Space Vixens like an alien invasion – iconic and electric!
There are 2 stars to the show. Tom Whalley as Dr Willy von Whackoff, who wrote the book on eccentricity, and Jamie Birkett as Jubilee Climax. Every song performed as a show-stopper! Incredible talent from both!
The costumes are absolutely amazing! Powerful characterisations, flamboyantly bold, sexy and sassy ensemble outfits. Just enough skin on show to titillate. Dr Willy’s lederhosen and braces truly entertaining!
Definitely a must-see show! Put it on your bucket list! This production you’ll want to see more than once! There’s so much going on and the musical numbers are so catchy it’s worth a second visit! If you only see one show this month then make it this one.