Question: What do you get when a team of all-male writers create a new musical dedicated to the bizarre subculture of the WAG? Answer: An offensively bad, completely unfunny mess of a show that hasn’t decided whether it wants to mock or glorify the ridiculous lifestyles of its female stars.
The plot of WAG! the Musical is…. actually, that’s harder to answer than you’d think. I can say that there were two salesgirls at a fashion store, one gushing over her married football-playing boyfriend and the other defending her physically abusive one. Their boss (Tim Flavin) is a gay stereotype. And then a bunch of WAGs come in, and sing songs about how women need to get plastic surgery until they’re unrecognisable and marry men for their money. Eventually, the two salesgirls end up in better situations than where they started, although neither of them appears to learn any important lessons along the way.
For such an absurd story, you’d expect a lot of irony, plenty of tongue-in-cheek humour, and a bit of charm to win you over in the end. WAG! the Musical won’t give you that. But you do get plenty of jokes that demean both women and men, and the ultimate awkwardness of having a number of real-life, self-proclaimed WAGs playing some sort of fictionalised, unflattering versions of themselves. Are they playfully mocking themselves? Or are the writers mocking them without their knowledge? It’s unclear whether we’re supposed to be laughing at them or with them… but it doesn’t matter, because we’re not laughing at all.
It’s unfortunate how terrible WAG! is, especially because on rare occasions there are glimmers of hope for a better show. Songwriters Grant Martin, Thomas Giron-Towers, and Tony Bayliss provide some decent melodies in their power-ballads for salesgirls Jenny (Daisy Wood-Davis) and Sharron (Amy Scott), and the two talented women sing them quite well. There are bits of real wit and comedy delivered by comedienne Alyssa Kyria, who created her character and wrote her own scenes for Greek WAG Ariadne. Katie Kerr is funny and charming as “Blow-Jo”, (so-called because of her talent for… well, you can figure it out and it’s not funny), and although I think we were supposed to laugh at her for being overweight, dating a chip-shop worker and wearing jewellery from Claire’s, she is (perhaps unintentionally) the only likable character in the show.
It’s not fun to write a negative review of an original musical, as I’ve always been one to support the work of new artists and the brave effort of creating new work. Unfortunately, WAG! the Musical is not the right showcase for anyone on its team. There are moments of promise, both in the music and occasionally in the writing (by Belvedere Pashun), and the actors have talent (with the exception of one or two real-life WAGs). Generally however, WAG! the Musical left me feeling bewildered, slightly offended, and totally confused as to why it was created in the first place.
WAG! The Musical is playing at the Charing Cross Theatre until 24 August. For more information and tickets, see the Charing Cross Theatre website.