Does Fashion Victim: The Musical rock the runway or does it trip and fall right on its face? (Insert over the top giggling and OMG-ing). Truth be told, it does a little of both. If the night was solely about showing off what a great, eclectic space the Cinema Museum is or rocking out to the raspy musical styling of opening band, Jane for Tea, then it nailed it. The film memorabilia and converted space gave the audience a ton to explore before the show began and the band set the mood. However, the show itself proved a little less consistent.
Fashion Victimis just what it claims to be: a campy romp about the world of fashion, parties and high society set to music. The night is hosted by a diva in black spandex and red eye makeup, Jake Spangle (Carl Mullaney). He tells (and participates in) the tale of star-crossed fashion lovers, Mimi Steel (Rosie Glossop) and Cedric Chevalier (James Wilkinson). The best part of the show by far is Spangle. Mullaney’s strong voice is matched by his charisma and his ability to recover from flat jokes or prop changes works for this casual, light-hearted type of show. Glossop and Chevalier, on the other hand, do not fair quite as well. Glossop has a strong belt but gets shaky in a higher register. And, while both Glossop and Wilkinson overall have solid singing voices, most of their love scenes and scheming are more awkward than funny.
The show itself moves at a nice pace, especially under the guidance of Mullaney. However, there is a trend of prioritizing parody over timing and the constant movement of the girls reacting to gossip is too drawn out for its comedic value. The second half of the show dramatically improves, both in performance and in quality of song. On the whole, the songs are not the most memorable. However, “Data Rape” proves an interesting big number. Now, I have some issues with the content, as a song called “Data Rape” with lyrics accusing the victims of being gullible and hated by everyone afterwards is a little questionable. Aside from that, it is the song with the sharpest lyrics, catchiest rhythm, and best choreography. On a technical note, some of the lyrics/jokes fall short because the actors’ microphones are not louder than the background music. That fix, while not completely saving the show, would make a significant difference.
Fashion Victim commits several musical crimes throughout the night, but overall is a fun, campy ride to get on board with. Carl Mullaney is the stand out star and gimmicks such as audience participation should be cut in preference for focusing on his performance. The visible lighting booth, fans to create a smoke machine and all the visible strings work for this pop up musical and are a part of its charm. Odds are you will not be singing any of Fashion Victim’s songs the next day but you’ll rock out and smile while the show goes on.