Saucy Jack and the Space Vixens is a Rocky Horror-esque musical set in a galactic bar, where a sling-back killer is targeting cabaret performers, and the Space Vixens come to the rescue. TDTC’s Saucy Jack and the Space Vixens follows the absurdity of this premise, and its production felt suitably ridiculous.
It’s the kind of show where the continuity and plausibility of the plot is subordinate to thigh-high boots, glitter and oozing sexuality. Don’t ask whether gyrating hip thrusts, sexual innuendo and flamboyant make out sessions are matters of artistic necessity, just sit back and enjoy the ride. Whilst the increased clarity of plot made the second act more enjoyable, Saucy Jack and the Space Vixens was at its most enjoyable when it was at its most preposterous.
For those who prefer the parameters of mainstream theatre and would rather remain untouched in your seat, beware. You never know when a half naked man might lie on top of you: but relax, it’s part of the experience. This immersive aspect extended as far as offering ‘space selfies’ with the audience during the interval. In essence, what you get from Saucy Jack is how much you give.
The production team was clearly brimming with creativity. The awkwardly narrow setup of the Assembly Rooms was completely transformed. The stage was turned into a catwalk which extended out onto the auditorium, and with levelled rooms either side, the show had an increased sense of voyeurism. There were some particular beauties amongst Kacey Courtney’s creative costume design, including some gorgeous steampunk inspired headpieces. Dan Gosselin’s lighting design was integral to the success of the production, and was both complex and appropriately atmospheric throughout.
The ensemble acting of the cast was particularly laudable. They gave this extremely kooky production their all, and their energy formed the core of its successes.
Charlie Keable was electric as Saucy Jack. Keable proves to have a real presence onstage, and his rendition of ‘Tortured Plaything’ was a particularly climactic part of the show.
Elissa Churchill was in typical fine form as Jubilee Climax, and was especially radiant during her solo musical numbers. She was well supported by space vixens Izzy Osborne and Lara Dolden as they formed a truly titillating trio.
Joe McWilliam and Russell Lamb were an equally devilish duo, and their ‘Fetish Number from Nowhere’ was probably the most enjoyed number of the piece due to its sheer confidence. McWilliam’s ongoing commentary as Dr. Von Wackoff was particularly entertaining.
Jake Goldman was wonderfully shy as Sammy Sax whilst Clarissa Lonsdale’s sense of character as Booby Shevalle and immaculately polished dancing skills shined through, even during ensemble pieces. Sarah Slimani was near perfection in her various roles: she exuded relaxed comic confidence, and made a particularly fierce pair with Izzy Osborne.
Whilst its bizarreness and unforgiving brashness might not impress all audience members, the creativity of this production team and confidence of this cast should at least prove notable. Even if this sort of theatrical voyeurism still isn’t quite your thing by the end of the night, you can at least appreciate TDTC’s considerable effort to try and convince you otherwise.
Photograph: Sam Nicholls