Sunday, 21 October 2012

Molly Wobbly's Tit Factory Original Cast - CD review


****
Music & lyrics by Paul Boyd
Released by SimG Records



Orla Gormley and Leanne Jones address Tara Flynn


One of the pleasing aspects of a CD being released a couple of months after a stage show, is that it provides an opportunity to re-visit the production, re-imagine the songs and also to study the lyrics, melodies and vocals with more careful consideration. Songs that can take weeks to write and rehearse, often (but not always!) deserve more than a simple 5 minute playing time on stage to appreciate the work that has gone into their composition.
So it is with the original cast recording of The Lyric Theatre Belfast’s production of Molly Wobbly’s Tit Factory, released this week on the SimG label. The show premiered earlier this year in Belfast before a stay at the Edinburgh Fringe, receiving generally excellent reviews. A full review of the staged show can be found in this link. The briefest of synopses tells of three women, frustrated with their marriages and with small town life. The arrival of Ithanku (Russell Morton), a shock headed stranger  with hypnotic powers and a skill in  breast augmentation, offers each woman an opportunity to pour out their frustrations and their desire for a happier life and an improved figure . Add in the three husbands,  Ithanku’s henchman Kitten (played by Tommy Wallace) and the cast is complete in a production that is extremely camp and mocking of both sexuality and religion. This is not a recording for the easily offended.
As has already been documented, the show’s original cast are a delight. This CD however allows their vocal skills to be relished at a more leisurely pace and it is striking how pervasive the predominantly Irish cast’s brogue is upon their performances. In Edinburgh’s vast Assembly Room the softer nuances of the actors’ accents was not so discernible, but in the carefully controlled environment of a recording studio, they are a delight. Tara Flynn and Orla Gormley both hail from Ireland, whilst Leanne Jones piles on the years as a credible 42year old English lady of the shires.
The three husbands all perform excellently, although their roles are broadly confined to reflecting their respective wives' search for happiness and liberation. It is Ithanku and surprisingly Kitten, who deliver the most distinctive male contributions to the recording. Ithanku with his narrator-like role as well as being a protagonist, makes a contribution to numerous numbers. The Bricusse/Newley like song Trust Yourself To Me, (think of The Candy Man from Willie Wonka & The Chocolate Factory)  that promotes his talents as a cosmetic surgeon has lilting lyrics that are chillingly matter of fact about the nips and tucks.
Late into the plot, Kitten delivers two stunning performances. Guardian Angel is a number that has true torch-song potential on the cabaret circuit, whilst with One Night Stand which, so it is to be understood, is a well written observation on some of the sexual complications of casual gay encounters, he delivers a hilarious crowd-whooping showstopper. Similarly, earlier in the show with Presbyterian Ministers Wife, Paul Boyd assisted by Gormley’s enchanting performance, proves that the f-word can still be an eye-wateringly rich seam of comedy if mined responsibly.
This recording will be a fun addition to many a music library. Boyd has created a celebration of crude irreverence combining it with moments of true observation of the human character. The CD notes contain a detailed synopsis that contexts each of the show’s songs, so if one has not yet seen it live, the story’s narrative can still be understood.   The production’s success at Edinburgh was well deserved and it can only be hoped that this recording’s release will herald Molly Wobbly being performed at a London venue in the not too distant future. Pending such an opening and with all royalties being donated to the Terrence Higgins Trust, grab a copy of the album and enjoy the bawdy banter of this tale.

CD available from www.simgproductions.com


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