★★★★ | Bathhouse, The Musical

For their second production of 2015, Above The Stag have chosen to revive their hugely successful production of Bathhouse The Musical.

It comes with a few changes of cast and new choreography by Carole Todd, a choreographer of some renown, who comes with an impressive list of credits which includes West End musicals as well as work at the Royal Opera House and Sadlers Wells.

What was always a hugely entertaining and hilarious show now emerges slicker, tighter and cleaner.

In case you missed it last time, the show is set for its entirety in a Bathhouse, with the cast wearing nothing but towels throughout. The story (such as it is) revolves around the adventures of young Billy, who starts out a bathhouse virgin, but finishes a lot more experienced. He is guided through his adventures by the disembodied voice of Giles Brandreth.

The score is a wonderfully witty amalgam of styles ranging from hoedown to full out Broadway ballads with quite a few other musical references between. With song titles like I’m a Bear Chaser, the hilarious Penises Are Like Snowflakes, Clickin’ for Dick and Seduction Tango, the jokes aren’t exactly subtle, but nor are they meant to be.

In a show that is such an ensemble piece, it would be invidious to single out any one individual. Each and every one gets their moment to shine and they are all excellent, so kudos to Will Ferris, Matthew Harper, John R Harrison, Ryan Lynch, Luke Webber and Tim McArthur, who also directs the fast-paced production, which doesn’t flag for one second.

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Great entertainment, not so pure and simple.

Bathhouse the Musical runs at Above the Stag until 29 march 2015.

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