When the Hungry Bitches take to the stage, booted in Doc Martens and suited in lamé leggings (that’s shiny ones by the way), you can tell this is one company who mean Brick Lane business.
The show is up there in the style stakes and I could have been wholly entertained by this alone for the first fifteen minutes, at least. Unfortunately, silver lamé wasn’t enough to save a script that was full of holes, and I don’t mean Topshop, fifty-quid-a-time, skinny jean kind of holes.
Facehunter begins by stomping all over the hipster scene with its big, red Doc Marten boots as punishment for taking itself far too seriously, then ends up committing exactly the same crime. The script starts by spitting out a sour, spot-on satire of the East End cool crowd but ends up more like a Christmas Day edition of EastEnders.
Any musical worth its salt has a melodramatic storyline in between the big numbers but one is enough. The first story, a RENT-style plotline of good time girl Sweetie turns all social realist gritty far too quickly and no one really seems to know why. Yes, when it comes to drugs we should all just ‘say no’, so why didn’t Sweetie? For a show obsessed with overdosing, Facehunters is sorely lacking in plot substance. Instead she is sentenced to become a plot device for some fantastic, head thrashing house party scenes. In fact, the best thing that comes out of Sweetie’s addiction is one fabulous drug dealer and the silky tones that roar from his leopard print shaven head. He is just one of several knock-out talents from a fierce, star power ensemble.
Now, things start to get really ‘f--ked up’ with the second story, an East End remix of Oscar Wilde’s Dorian Gray which is a shame because if you can make sense of the storyline, then that’s where you’ll find the acting gold of the show. The most striking performance of the production comes from Catherine, involved in this remix.
Because this show ‘isn’t nearly diverse enough,’ Dorian’s been re-worked into a lesbian love triangle which is fine, as long as one of them doesn’t start giggling before kissing a girl, but as a plotline it can stand alone and the duration of Wilde’s novel is testament to that. The ideas behind this Oscar vs Hipster remix are pretty cutting edge; blogging, self promotion and the death of the Polaroid should all force this story line to make sense but it doesn’t, quite.
Until some serious editing has taken place, Facehunter will remain a fun, three star show but with a chorus who are closer to five. When the story is sagging, this lot come along and give it a good bash with their shiny boots. They get the best lines in the script, have a real awareness of comic timing and all dance breathlessly like its 4 am at Lovebox, from start to finish. The rave induced choreography sets off a very cool musical score but some of the lyrics could be scrapped.
The Hungry Bitches are fun but I’m trying to make to make them go to rehab. If they check in and clean up their script, they’ll be more than just a group of good time girls. At the moment, their potential is, fittingly, just getting wasted.