Fashion Victim – The Musical started off as a piece of pop-up entertainment during London Fashion Week and someone had the great idea of developing the show.
But, darlings, the whole concept is so last season. There was nothing original or new to discover in this morality tale exposing the world of the celebrity hanger-on.
Fashion Victim opened at The Cinema Museum last night amid much applause from its hip and trendy audience.
As a lightweight “fashion fable” it just about passes muster but the story – of two “style-crossed” lovers – was so paper thin that it was almost transparent.
The setting was stylishly industrial chic as befits a runway show (London Fashion Week organisers take note).
The Cinema Museum in Elephant & Castle (or Kennington depending on which way the wind blows) was once a Victorian workhouse for the poor and home to a young and destitute Charlie Chaplin.
Inside, the vaulted room was dressed with vintage cameras, costumes and memorabilia with a giant outline of Chaplin fronting the catwalk set.
But on stage we had a very modern tale of a voluptuous Canadian import determined to climb the ranks of celebrity by any means.
Mimi Steel starts off wrapping herself around handsome society mover-and-shaker Cedric Chevalier (James Wilkinson) before moving on to bigger and better things, launching her own product line, and making it onto the list of z-celebrities filling London’s gossip columns.
The story is narrated, with various bitchy asides, by celebrity stylist Jake Spangle (former Les Mis actor Carl Mullaney, dressed as a cross between Cabaret’s MC and Boy George, and the only good reason to see the show).
He flits on and off the stage whipping up the venom against the fame-hungry Steel and offering Chevalier (pantomime French but very tongue-in-cheek) a haute-couture shoulder to cry on.
Model turned actor Arron Blake is wheeled on as Steel’s latest squeeze, rich reality TV star Tarquin Brockhutch, but has little to do.
And, for no logical reason whatsoever other than as a very poor gimmick, there is a celebrity cameo from actress Camilla Rutherford who looked embarrassed and was dumb-struck, during her brief moment in the spotlight.
Mullaney has a charismatic stage presence and powerful singing voice (Data Rape was a daft song but blasted out by the performer) and delivers a waspish performance as Spangle.
Rosie Glossop, as Mimi, also has a fine pair of lungs during her numbers but struggles to find any depth in her character (or perhaps there was none to find).
Like a lot of fashion the show, written and produced by Toby Rose, is very camp and bitchy but ultimately, all style and little content. Some of the comedy worked but a lot fell flat.
Director Rob McWhir’s imaginative staging was fun but the restricted space did limit any plot development and interaction between characters.