The Stripper - St James Theatre 2016
book by Carter Brown - lyrics by Richard O’Brien - music by Richard Hartley
The revival of The Stripper ran at the St James Theatre, London for just six weeks in 2016 from July 11th to August 13th.
Directed by Benji Sperring who had previously directed the London production of Shock Treatment on stage, this production was closer to the original Sydney shows than the 2009 Queen's Theatre, Hornchurch production.
The studio theatre itself seated just over a hundred people and the whole room became the Club Extravaganza, feeling like you were more a part of the show than just an audience member. There was also some interaction with the audience, particularly from the main character Lieutenant Al Wheeler, played by the very talented Sebastien Torkia.
Just five cast members in all played twelve characters, with some clever staging and some very quick costume changes making for a seamless show. The addition of a great five piece band stage right, in full view of the audience rather than hidden away, also helped create the right atmosphere for the show.
The plot, for those of you who haven't seen it, centred around the death of Patty Keller, cousin to the title character Deadpan Dolores, but did she jump, was she pushed or did she fall? Detective Al Wheeler is drawn into the mystery and the world of The Arkwright Happiness Club and the Club Extravaganza, where he meets "the girl the says it all from the neck down" - Deadpan Delores. Set in the early 1960's in California, USA the show captures the detective novel feel with style.
Based on the book by Carter Brown, with witty lyrics from Richard O'Brien and music by Richard Hartley, The Stripper is one of our favourite musicals, more so after seeing this brilliant production.
Press reviews of the show seemed polarised many reviewers loved the show and gave it five stars, others decided that The Stripper was derogatory to women and even misogynistic. I am of the opinion the reviewers who took the latter view did not quite get what the show was about. I took it more as an observation of a genre, rather than history lesson. Some people it seems over analyzed the plot, rather than enjoying a brilliant show performed by a very talented cast. Everyone we spoke to loved the show and many rebooked for a return visit.
An interview with the cast introducted by Richard O'Brien himself
From their website.........
Running Time: TBC
The year 1961, the place Pine City, California and some broad is threatening to throw herself off the top of the fanciest hotel in town. There’s trouble brewing and Lieutenant Al Wheeler wants answers.
First stop, Club Extravaganza where we meet delectable Deadpan Dolores. Her name says it all… she’s not shy, so what’s she hiding?
As Wheeler is thrust into a sleazy underworld of strip-joints and lost lonely hearts, the truth isn’t the only thing he uncovers.
Based on Carter Brown‘s beloved pulp fiction story, with music and lyrics by Richard Hartley and Richard O’Brien, the writers of cult favourite The Rocky Horror Show. Brought to you by the creative team behind Shock Treatment and The Toxic Avenger. Club Extravaganza takes residence in the Studio for six weeks.
Cast includes Gloria Onitiri (The Bodyguard, The Lion King) Sebastien Torkia (Top Hat, La Cage Aux Folles, Saturday Night Fever) Hannah Grover (The Toxic Avenger, Ghost the Musical, Mamma Mia), Marc Pickering (The Toxic Avenger, Aladdin, The Elephant Man) and Michael Steedon (Hairspray, A Chorus Line).