Shoes the Musical, The Peacock Theatre
Remember Stomp? Remember how innovative, exciting and fresh it seemed for the first 30 minutes? Remember then how it became rather repetitive and tedious? Well, Shoes the Musical is like that.
There is no narrative. This does, quite simply, what it says on the tin. It is 28 self-contained musical numbers extolling the virtues, questioning the origins and generally celebrating shoes.
It has moments of brilliance. The choreography is at times breathtaking. The set design is a triumph, with the action taking place on three levels composed of enormous, sparkling stilettos. The band are fantastic, competent and expressive. The costumes are dazzling and there are a couple of laugh-out-loud moments.
However, the performance time could easily be halved, without detracting from the entertainment value. Whilst the scene changes are undoubtedly seamless, a lot of the dancing feels generic and is clearly designed as 'filler'. The songs are also a tad hit-and-miss. Desire: The Brand, a number which compares shoe fetishism to religion is captivating and clever, whilst Health and Safety which professes to teach us how to walk in high heels is bizarre and a bit boring.
The writing is at times beautifully witty. Memorable lines are 'time wounds all heels' and 'Imelda Marcos is, quite simple, my Mother'. Conversely, it is occasionally trying a little too hard to be amusing and makes an unwelcome transition into seaside cabaret territory.
Overall, it's an enjoyable and interesting way to spend an evening. Dancers Alexis Owen-Hobbs and Flik Swan deliver stand-out performances, which are gorgeously elegant and hilarious, respectively. Gemma O'Duffy is also an astoundingly powerful vocalist, with Aguilera-style prowess and her parody of Beyoncé's Crazy in Love is fantastic. Ladies, Shoes the Musical is recommended for a night of girly fun with your female mates. Do not, though, whatever you do, take your boyfriend. He will expire of boredom.
Shoes the Musical is at the Peacock Theatre until April 3, 2011