Facehunters

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.

Since you’re here…

… we have a small favour to ask. We don't want your money to support a hack's bar bill at Abattoir, but if you have a pound or two spare, we really encourage you to support a good cause. If this review has either helped you discover a gem or avoid a turkey, consider doing some good that will really make a difference.

You can donate to the charity of your choice, but if you're looking for inspiration, there are three charities we really like.

Mama Biashara
Kate Copstick’s charity, Mama Biashara, works with the poorest and most marginalised people in Kenya. They give grants to set up small, sustainable businesses that bring financial independence and security. That five quid you spend on a large glass of House White? They can save someone’s life with that. And the money for a pair of Air Jordans? Will take four women and their fifteen children away from a man who is raping them and into a new life with a moneymaking business for Mum and happiness for the kids.
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Theatre MAD
The Make A Difference Trust fights HIV & AIDS one stage at a time. Their UK and International grant-making strategy is based on five criteria that raise awareness, educate, and provide care and support for the most vulnerable in society. A host of fundraising events, including Bucket Collections, Late Night Cabarets, West End Eurovision, West End Bares and A West End Christmas continue to raise funds for projects both in the UK and Sub-Saharan Africa.
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Acting For Others
Acting for Others provides financial and emotional support to all theatre workers in times of need through the 14 member charities. During the COVID-19 crisis Acting for Others have raised over £1.7m to support theatre workers affected by the pandemic.
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Performances

The Blurb

New musical set in the ultra-cool streets of east London, home of the hipster. An in-your-face, satirical, moving story inspired by The Picture of Dorian Gray. A tale of love, loss and the beauty of youth. www.hungrybitchesproductions.com.

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