Fashion Victim at the Cinema Museum
“Pay attention!” half squawks, half drawls Jake Spangles, as though he and his skin-tight leggings are commanding anything less than the full attention of the entire room, “this is PLOT!”
Fashion Victim could be read as one huge metaphor: the paper-thin plot line and disintegration of the odious characters described therein is a roundabout way of saying that the musical itself is insubstantial thanks to the utter lack of any material other than posturing and abs. Or, it could be one huge ironic skit; an analysis that has some evidence in support of it, not least the reappearing mobile phones on stage and the seemingly (hopefully?) aware celebrity cameo on the part of Camilla Rutherford for this performance. At the very least, these ironic scenarios represented an accurate, if depressing, piece of real modern culture. It would probably be doing Fashion Victim a disservice to say much more about it than what it says on the tin: a reasonably priced ticket, an ill-mixed but reassuringly strong cocktail, and a great night (once disbelief has been securely suspended on a G-string).
Cocktails were available from 7pm whilst the French trio providing live music in the dimly-lit theatre hall aced a number of covers, including classics Back to Black and Smoke on the Water. A ramshackle building filled with eclectic objects and posters, the Cinema Museum is tucked away behind Elephant and Castle station with a dismissively camp gentleman eyeing up everyone who walks past; a perfect location for Fashion Victim.
In a nutshell, the plot follows Mimi (Rosie Glossop), a teeth-grindingly irritating piece of sass who will stop at nothing to become famous. Enter vacuous Cedric (James Wilkinson), her springboard amour, a handful of poseurs and the real star of the show: Jake Spangles, dresser of the rich and famous and the glue that holds the show together. Played by Carl Mullaney, fresh out of a three year run on Les Mis, Jake is the one character in this show who seems completely three-dimensional and comfortable within his role. The anorexic script constrains most of the narcissistic characters within roles as unsatisfying and restrictive as their underwear, giving credit to the fact they were still able to belt out the same repetitive tunes with some gusto and, particularly in Glossop’s case, a pretty hefty voice. Mullaney, however, not only pulled off his role with a flourish, he gave real ad-libbed life to his character and really stole the show. The dance troupe FVTM! didn’t do any harm either, almost acting as a physical translation of a chorus and giving some va va voom to the proceedings.
Everything comes to a head at a party Mimi throws to advertise her new charity bracelets, shown off to great effect on the otherwise bare body of Tarquin (Arron Blake), her new lover. Good – and vengeance in the form of an undercover CI-Fashion agent – will out, and as she’s escorted off the stage by the fashion police with the words “her dress is PRIMARK!” thrown after her, the moral of the story is simple enough: “Being nice, well… that never goes out of fashion!” Neither do strong cocktails. On all accounts, not a bad night.
Fashion Victim is at the Cinema Museum until 6th July 2014. For further information or to book visit the show’s website here.