REVIEW: Saucy Jack and the Space Vixens
Saucy Jack and the Space Vixens was originally produced in 1995 for the Edinburgh Festival and was written, it is said, for people who felt more at home in bars and discos than they did going to the theatre. Set in an intergalactic nightclub called Saucy Jack's Cabaret Bar, where plastic and disco are all the rage, the show's audience become an integral part as the crowd at the club. The script is highly derivative – Rocky Horror Show meets disco – but then let’s be honest imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.
This is not sophisticated humour, with characters named Willhelm von Whackoff, Chesty Prospects, Vulva Savannah and Jubilee Climax and the menacing proprieter of Saucy Jack’s himself – Jack De’ath the show is definitely OTT, but Saucy Jack at the Epsom Playhouse, performed by the You Theatre partnership worked, because everyone seemed to be having such a good time – particularly John Sutherland with his blow up saxophone – which he then swapped for a real one. We were certainly impressed with his eight weeks of lessons!
The small studio space had been transformed into a nightclub, complete with cocktail bar, at which a series of murders by the ‘slingback killer’, were investigated by the "space vixens", armed with hair dryers!! Given the amount of additional lighting and sound equipment crammed into such a compact space I’m surprised that there wasn’t a fuse or two blown during the show.
The cast clearly enjoyed working together on the show and Steve Bittletone’s comment in the programme that ‘the cast bonded like none I’ve ever known’ certainly seemed true the night we went to see it. The cast, as I’ve said, were enthusiastic, and I particularly liked Andy Lingfield, as Jack De’ath, who managed to appear both sinister and engaging despite suffering from a pathological desire to kill anyone who tried to leave him. Emma Jones, had a strong stage presence as leader of the space vixen pack, whilst Helen Clark and Emma Rowland as her sidekicks, also turned in good performances. Jennie Moorhouse seethes beautifully as motorcycle-riding lesbian space smuggler Chesty. Danny Willis’s irreverent drag queen Booby entertained us all with classic lines such as “I always knew I wasn’t like all the other little girls.”
Fantastic costumes added to the overall feeling of glamour and glitz but it has to be said the choreography is what made the day with this show. A great deal of creativity went into making each dance number unique and original – no mean feat in such a small space. Congratulations to Lea Stock on some great ideas.
The dancing, the singing and the repartee worked together brilliantly and gave us a really enjoyable evening. If there was one criticism it would be that the straight forward acted scenes needed a little more polish, these were the places when it slipped back into the world of amateur theatre and appeared just slightly clunky – perhaps more so in the light of such successful singing and dancing.
However thank you for reserving us such brilliant seats and for providing a great night’s entertainment even if we are still occasionally haunted by the irritatingly catchy ‘Glitterboots saved my Life.’