Saucy Jack and the Space Vixens

Saucy Jack and the Space Vixens is a glam-rock musical that returns to its spiritual home in Edinburgh. It started here as a Fringe First-winning show in 1995, transferred to the West End (where I was lucky enough to catch it), and even had a permanent club built to house it at London Bridge. It’s outrageously camp, infectiously funny and has a cult following similar in addiction to that certain Richard O’Brien stage & screen classic. But whilst it’s not a cookie-cutter clone of Rocky Horror, it’s certainly baked in the same oven.The action all takes place in a sci-fi future where disco and plastic fetishism are quite the vogue. In a forgotten corner of the Universe, Frottage III is home to a sleazy cabaret bar called Saucy Jack’s where thoroughly unpleasant proprietor Jack De’ath keeps his downtrodden employees Booby Cheval, Sammy Sacks and Mitch Maypole in check. Constantly at the end of the bar, Dr Whackoff provides narration of this story which opens as Vulva Savannah becomes the latest victim of the Slingback Killer (so named, as their modus operandi is to plunge a heel into the heart). Are you getting the measure of this yet? And this is before the Charlie’s Angels-style Space Vixens shimmy into town, with glitterboots and hairdryers-for-handguns. It is unashamedly over-the-top, but that’s its beauty. If you’re happy to be taken along for the ride, Saucy Jack’s is a particularly hedonistically wild one, brimming with every double entendre imaginable.The Unlucky Theatre Company do an excellent job of transforming C too into Saucy Jack’s. The audience are encouraged to seat themselves at tables and stools that have been set out on the stage, and there’s an open bar at which Mitch Maypole sells drinks. This is a show where any idea of a fourth wall is abolished – we are part of the show, customers at Jack’s, and very often brought into the action. But this authenticity of staging is let down by some pretty awful non-naturalistic acting. Lines are often delivered in an arc of emphasis along with the gesturing and anticipation that so often mar amdram performance. Which is a pity, since a little more direction and technique would really make this shine. If they can sharpen up the delivery a bit so they believe what they’re saying, rather than just remembering words in a script, it’s going to get a lot better. But it ain’t all bad either. I was quite taken with Caspar Cordwell James’ portrayal of cocktail waitress Booby, George Griffin’s Dr Whackoff and Miles Leven’s Mitch Maypole. There’s promise there.Another small niggle, and maybe it’s just because I’m pretty familiar with the show, but I really missed the heel chink in the Glitterboots routine. At every other production I’ve been to, that’s the take-away that the audience remember. An opportunity missed.

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The Blurb

Jack's back! Hit Fringe First space rock camp musical returns. Sidesplitting scifi murder mystery musical extravaganza. 'The party night out' (Guardian). 'Manically funny' (Scotsman). 'Kill for a ticket' ***** (Evening News). Late bar, dancing. www.unluckytheatre.co.uk

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