Even if this show had come out during the 2006 World Cup when the term Wag was coined for the wives and girlfriends of England’s football squad, it still would have been about 35 years out of date. Wag The Musical feels like a church hall version of Are You Being Served? – but without the jokes, characterisation, warmth or production values. We were actually sweating with embarrassment for the first ten minutes – until the entrance of Marmite-tanned, real-life Wag Lizzie Cundy – at which point embarrassment turned into actual physical pain. Cundy can’t act, can’t dance and she sings like her larynx is being strangulated by her latest face lift. She represents all that is risible about this show – and about the Wag lifestyle itself, which Belvedere Pashun’s lumpen script failed to lay one finger on.
This really should have been a clever, catty satire on the culture of shopping and shagging that coagulates around men with money, instead it seemed like an advert for it – though an advert made by morons. Lines like “I’m Zoe Hemingway – no relation!” or the daydream of opening a vagina-tightening service called 'Twats R Us' are merely the tip of an iceberg of terrible. Even more misjudged are the use of domestic violence as a trivial plot device and the mean-spirited mocking of an overweight wannabe It-girl.
The plot, such as it is, revolves around two shop girls looking for love and meaning who find only cheating men, a bitchy boss, horny vamps, etc, etc. It didn’t make much sense – unless it was all meant to work as a genre-subverting anti-farce. The only thing it actually did nailed was the idea that the dreary department store where the two girls work is a purgatorial nightmare you feel like you’ll never escape from.
Let’s not name and shame any of the non-Wag cast members; it must be bad enough having to get up on stage and peddle this dreck each night. And peddling is what it’s all about – once again underlining the show’s lack of irony – there's cheesy product placement (a cosmetics brand is emblazoned all over the stage) and a mountain of tawdry merch on sale. Anyone for a Wag apron?
There was one unexpected highlight at the end of the first half when a moth started to dance about in a spotlight on the left hand side of the stage. Unfortunately we can’t guarantee this will happen when you go. Seriously, if you have tickets – destroy them. Wag the Musical stinks so bad they’ll probably have to burn down the theatre to get rid of the stench.
Wag The Musical runs at the Charing Cross Theatre until 24 August 2013.
Londonist saw this play on a complimentary free ticket.