10:37 | 19th February 2019

Reviews: Live Shows

Wed 25 Jun, 2014
By Robert Ingham

a show that's peppy, energetic and ever so fluffily camp throughout

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Bathhouse: The Musical - Theatre Review

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Above The Stag theatre brings back the camp after their last two more serious shows with ‘Bathhouse: The Musical’. With proof that they can tackle a varied programme, it was only a matter of time before the fun and frolics returns.

And how it has returned. Originally performed at ATS Theatre in 2009, it is the story of Billy, an innocent and naïve guy who has come to the Bathhouse seeking love, but finds the other patrons have other ideas.

That really is the plot. But with a title such as this, you shouldn’t really be expecting Chekhov. What you can expect is irreverence and over the top frivolity, with songs such as ‘Clickin For Dick’ and ‘Penises Are Like Snowflakes’. This is a leave-your-brain-at-home-and-go-watch-six-men-dance-around-the-stage-in-towels show and it should be treated as such. It won’t blow your mind but it is thoroughly entertaining, as long as you realise that it is what it is – titivating and tantalising.

Whilst there is little to have to think about, there are some touching moments like stand-out ‘Lonely Love Song’, and the rousing ‘Hottie Revival’, which sends the audience into a gospel-clapping congregation. In fact, there are nods to numerous west end shows such as Les Mis and Avenue Q, and its tongue is firmly in cheek throughout, if you will pardon the pun.

Alistair Frederick, who leads ‘Hottie Revival’ has a mischievous glint in his eye throughout, Matthew Harper sings ‘The Workout’, which really puts him through his paces, and his muscles (plus the odd revealing moment) are worth the ticket price itself. Joe Leather is the man of a thousand voices, leaving the audience in fits of laughter. Royce Ullah looks a little lost at times but he has the enthusiasm and energy to not let it overshadow. And Ryan Lynch is cheeky and loveable as the wide-eyed boy caught in the seediness of a steamroom.

Director Tim McArthur does very well, this being his second directorial effort this year, and he also takes one of the leading role. I’m always quite sceptical when directors take acting roles as it sometimes affects the scenes they’re in – and there were a couple of tuning issues which I’m absolutely sure were just press night nerves – but overall, kudos to Tim for pulling together a fine cast who can all sing. Wait for the final song to realise there’s more to them than just looking good in a towel.

All in all, a show that's peppy, energetic and ever so fluffily camp throughout, with some crazy choreography and a healthy amount of flesh flashing – it’s just what you need after a hard day at work or are starting the evening off. You can visit the Bathhouse without even having to take your clothes off, and for a fraction of the price. What more could you ask for?

Bathhouse: The Musical has proved to be so popular, it has been extended for a further three weeks until 9th August, so make sure you get your tickets to the steamiest ticket in town.


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