Molly Wobbly at the Leicester Square Theatre is quite simply one of the funniest shows I’ve seen in a long while. That’s a pretty simple summation of this wonderful piece of musical comedy theatre.
Following the opening credits – yes you read that right – we go to a village in Romania whose name I couldn’t possibly mention and meet Mr Ithanku (Russell Morton), a sort of long lean and lanky human troll doll, doing a runner after upsetting the locals. He travels across Europe and finally winds up in an English Town called ‘Little Happening’ a town that almost had a heyday once but missed the boat and is now dying on its concrete feet. In this town there is a street where there are three shops as devoid of customers as an ice cube shop in the Arctic.
There is the haberdashers owned by Malcolm (Ashley Knight) and his domineering wife, Margaret (Jane Milligan). The watch/clock repairers with Robbie (Christopher Finn) and his young, uninhibited wife Ruth (Stephanie Fearon) and finally the hairdressers where the intriguing and possibly ‘confused’ Jake (Conleth Kane) ‘queens’ it over the hot straighteners with his demure Irish Catholic wife Jemma (Cassie Compton). All three ladies have a problem, they are trapped in loveless marriages, their husbands really don’t appreciate or even notice them – for example Robbie can’t understand why Ruth wants him to give her an orgasm, since he gave her a new dishwasher last week. Into the lives of our ladies comes Mr Ithanku who, using hypnosis and a series of flashbacks involving cheerleaders, priests and a formidable Irish nun, helps the ladies work out their problems and get them off their chests, quite literally. Assisted by his angel Kitten (Alan Richardson), Mr Ithanku sets about making their dreams come true while their husbands get together, discuss the strange turn of events in their little town and between them decide on a pretty radical solution. But, as with most things in this story, there is no point in trying to guess what happens next as you will inevitably be completely blindsided by this magically unpredictable production.
Told using a madcap collection of musical numbers, Paul Boyd’s show is a wonderful mix of the instantly recognizable – people unhappy with their lot in life – and the truly outrageous. Some of the musical numbers, for example ‘The Presbyterian Minister’s Wife’ are the reason the letters NSFW were invented, but are truly awesome and have to be heard to be believed. All of the songs are really great – I have just bought the Soundtrack CD – and my own personal favourite was the truly delicious ‘One Night Stand’ which, going by the knowing laughter and huge round of applause at its conclusion, invoked way, way too many memories for many in the audience, including me I’m ashamed/proud to say. The show absolutely sparkles in other respects to. The use of projection is brilliant and feels like a very natural part of the storytelling as does the amount of time the cast spend out and about in the audience – word of advice here, watch out for Kitten’s wings and keep your legs out of the Sister’s way.
The highly talented cast are a nice mixture of ages and definitely seems to be having as wonderful a time as the audience. The ladies in particular really put their heart, soul and certain other parts into their roles, and there was something about the cynical and masterful Margaret that I found really intriguing. There was a definite air repressed librarian (remove the glasses and hair pins then stand back) about her that I loved. All in all, this show manages to be unique whilst at the same time taking a well-crafted swipe at so many other shows. From The Witches of Eastwick to The Lion King, there are many familiar references at totally inappropriate times that no matter how bad a day you’ve had, you will be laughing your cotton socks off by the end.
My opening to this review was short and sharp and I’m going to close in the same way. Molly Wobbly is rude, outrageous, shocking, and a show that probably has Mary Whitehouse spinning in her grave – but its awesomely funny and superbly entertaining from its start to the end of the final credits.
Review by Terry Eastham
THREE DESPERATE WOMEN,
TWO STRANGERS IN TOWN,
ONE HELL OF A MAKE-OVER!
The women of Little Happening are desperate – all three are trapped in loveless marriages and stuck with failing businesses. There is only one person who can help them – a woman they’ve never met. Her name is Molly Wobbly …
Margaret, Ruth, and Jemma receive unexpected makeovers when a stranger arrives on Mammary Lane in the acclaimed musical comedy by Paul Boyd that was the talk of the 2012 Edinburgh Festival Fringe!
The show began life in 2011 as a staged concert at Belfast’s Lyric Theatre. In 2012 a festival-scale production premiered at the Lyric and ran at the Assembly Rooms throughout the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. Most recently, in 2014, the show was presented as a staged concert at the Phoenix Artist Club.
Molly Wobbly tells the saucy, sexy, outrageous story of Margaret, Ruth, and Jemma – three Little Happening shopkeepers who plot to get a few things off their chests. Bulging with big laughs, crammed with catchy songs, and chock-full of cheeky characters, Molly Wobbly is the hilarious musical comedy about a mysterious woman and her dream to make the world a more beautiful place.
Original Soundtrack available for just £5 when purchased at the same time as your ticket simply select “Ticket & CD” option when you book.
Cassie Compton as Jemma
Stephanie Fearon as Ruth
Jane Milligan as Margaret
Conleth Kane as Jake
Christopher Finn as Robbie
Ashley Knight as Malcolm
Alan Richardson as Kitten
Russell Morton as Ithanku
Original book, music, and lyrics by Paul Boyd
Directed by Paul Boyd
Choreographed by Sarah Johnston
Musical direction by Matthew Reeve
Designed by Diego Pitarch
Lights designed by Tom Kitney
Produced by Leicester Square Theatre by arrangement with PBM
Running Time 90 Minutes
Performances to 14th March 2015
30th January 2015