A super-strange story about a shock-haired stranger who visits the town of Little Happening, changing the residents' lives forever, Molly Wobbly's Tit Factory (as it was originally known when it debuted at the Lyric in Belfast many years ago) is finally being fully staged in the tiny Lounge at the Leicester Square Theatre. This success comes after an abortive attempt to get it on at the Hackney Empire. So what's it like? Bonkers, basically.
The storyline focuses on three dysfunctional couples, living on the aptly titled Mammary Lane. All are somewhat unsuited, unfulfilled and secretly seeking something to take themselves away from the tedium of daily life. When the creepily intoxicating Ithanku (a dastardly, devious and fantastically dramatic Russell Morton) turns up and hands them a hallucination in a teacup, he sparks a series of unfortunate events, ending in boob jobs for all.
The characterisations here are good fun – particularly so thanks to the ‘flashback songs', especially the over-the-top "Catholic Girl", and the out-of-place "Little Happening High". We see here how dressmaker Margaret, perky Ruth and miserable Jemma all found themselves in their current predicaments. Meanwhile, the men – nerdy former Mayor Malcolm, burly clockmaker Robbie (lush tenor tones from Christopher Finn) and hairdresser Jake – have well defined back stories but certainly play second fiddle to the ladies.
Creator Paul Boyd's score is well performed by musical director Matthew Reeve and the uniformly strong cast. There's no such thing as Best In Show here – everyone brings something to the table. From Jane Milligan's sparky Margaret, whose flashback turns into High School Musical and who has one of the best numbers in the show with "Designed By Margaret Brown", to Conleth Kane's arch, attention-stealing Jake (you literally won't be able to miss him), there's a lot to enjoy.
It's a shame that despite a great deal of promise in the first act, the second half flails as it follows the story to its inexorable conclusion, while we only actually meet Molly Wobbly right at the end – a lost opportunity. And even for the most liberal, there are peculiarly tasteless moments that don't seem to fit with the rest of the piece – drag queen diva Kitten (Alan Richardson)'s sex tune "One Night Stand", which takes a step too far in its mention of anal prolapse!
It does feel that although promising, it would have been beneficial for Molly Wobbly to get in front of a critical, independent audience earlier in its gestation. It's a lot of fun, but loses its way the longer it goes on.
Molly Wobbly runs at Leicester Square Theatre until 14 March