Well, it’s all very rock ‘n roll; the Players Theatre bar is full of glam women and men in frilly shirts, leather trousers, dodgy mullets and with faces reminiscent of the heady days of 70s glam rock. The time of curtain up is also very rock ‘n roll as the front of house staff battle to get the revellers into the auditorium and we eventually go up 20 minutes late.
“Set in the comic strip world of Glamsville, Blok Busta is a new glam rock musical of mostly an original score, but with a few of those all time favourites interwoven into one enormous glittering glam-fest!” says the programme. To a certain extent it does what it says on the tin; the majority of the show is sung with short interludes of cartoony dialogue to advance the flimsy plot of a murderer called Busta who kills by playing disco music at his victims.
But that is not what this evening is really about; it’s about a bunch of kids stomping around in platform shoes, big hair and make-up belting out some catchy rock riffs. The songs by Mike Bennett and several collaborators including Steve Etherington are a mix of sub Rocky Horror style set pieces and fun pastiches of hits of yore with witty lyrical and musical references. I particularly enjoyed “The Jacuzzi Song” and “Too Young To Die”. But where Rocky was anarchic, sexy and funny, Blok Busta is a little too crude in its humour at times.
The team of hugely versatile and talented actor/musicians perform and play well and drive the show along. Ben Craig is fun as the androgynous, high heeled Aladdin Pain and Clare Kinson is great as the uber-vamp lesbian dominatrix Jean Jeanie. Hellraiser, a Brian May lookalike and mean guitar player is strutted by Al Howell, Inspector Stone, the wheelchair-bound police inspector, is belted out by Mikey O’Connor, Sarah Vezmar manages to mix a good voice with a nice sense of comedy as the mouse that morphs into rock chick Virginia Plain and the dynamic Tiger Feet is played with huge gusto by Susannah van den Berg.
Although director Alkis Kritikos has done his best, I would have liked more story, humour and character development and less music.