Her Majesty the Queen may have displayed a comic touch at the Olympics Opening Ceremony, but one wonders what One would make of the latest show from the theatre that staged Her recent historic handshake with Martin McGuinness.
The Lyric Theatre in Belfast brings an outrageous new musical comedy which tackles the darker side of cosmetic surgery to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival this week.
Having undergone its own recent £18.1m transformation, the Lyric – shortlisted alongside the Olympic Stadium for the prestigious Stirling Prize – presents Molly Wobbly’s Tit Factory at the recently renovated Assembly Rooms.
It is an appropriate setting for a show about the ultimate makeover – and at a time when Northern Ireland itself is flaunting a new and improved image to the world.
Written and directed by Belfast composer, Paul Boyd, Molly Wobbly’s Tit Factory is an irreverent comedy about society’s obsession with beauty – a topical theme given the recent breast implant debacle.
From a city torn apart by sectarianism, comes a musical with songs that sends up both Catholics and Protestants – Catholic Convent Girl and The Presbyterian Minister’s wife – which just a few years ago would have generated pickets by religious groups outside the theatre.
Over its 60-year history in Northern Ireland, the Lyric has blazed a trail for supporting new drama and attracted controversy as far back as 1974 when it staged the outrageous musical of the day – Jesus Christ Superstar.
The hilarious musical Molly Wobbly’s Tit Factory is at the Edinburgh Fringe from 1 – 26 August. The last production the Lyric brought to Edinburgh, Stones in his Pockets, was a big hit that went to Broadway and the West End.
Olivier-award winning actress, Leanne Jones, who played the West End's original ‘Tracy Turnblad’ in Hairspray joins a glittering cast which also includes comedian Tara Flynn (Stewart Lee’s Comedy Vehicle) together with Christopher Finn, Orla Gormley, Kevin Hynes, Conleth Kane, Russell Morton, and Tommy Wallace.
Gilly Campbell, from the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, said: “The Arts Council is delighted to support this brand new musical by one of Northern Ireland’s most talented composers. The story has proven it has great appeal to local audiences and it will be a triumph at the Edinburgh Fringe. The Lyric has provided an outstanding cultural programme over the past 60 years, generating some of the most ground-breaking and innovative theatre, and Molly Wobbly joins that tremendous record.”
A must see for fans of The Rocky Horror Show, The Witches of Eastwick and Jerry Springer: the Opera, the riotous Molly Wobbly’s Tit Factory is rapidly gaining cult classic status. With a style that is very much influenced by gothic horror and graphic novels, this is the adult musical comedy Sweeney Todd wishes he was in!
Life in Little Happening runs like clockwork until the arrival of a mysterious stranger whose very presence seems to poison the community. When a neon sign suddenly appears above the door of the old church reading ‘Molly Wobbly’s Tit Factory’, it becomes clear that life on Mammary Lanewill never be the same again.
Soon the women of the town lose their inhibitions and start discussing ways to enhance their looks, whilst the men of the town plot to free themselves from their complicated lives. Perhaps this was the mysterious stranger’s plan…
Bookings for Molly Wobbly at the Edinburgh Fringe can be made online at www.arfringe.com or telephone the Assembly Rooms box office on 0844 693 3008. The show previews on 1 & 2 August and then runs from 3 – 26 August.
★★★★ A GIDDYING GLORIOUS SHOW ... SOON TO BE [AN] EDINBURGH SMASH!
(Belfast Telegraph, July 2012)
Culture Northern Ireland Review