WoodyWoody Allen has been many things. He is an Academy Award-winning actor, writer and director. He is one of the world’s most famous Jewish celebrities. And once he was a stand up comedian. Has he ever been a superhero created by Henry Kissinger to fight communism?

You’ll have to ask the guy in the moose suit.

The Boy Who Was Woody Allen is a strange beast. That much was obvious from the title and the description just confirms your suspicions. John O’Leary is an 18-year-old 6’3” Catholic boy about to meet his destiny and his careers officer. With a gentle nudge from an epiphany, John decides to be Woody Allen. Can you blame him? Who hasn’t wanted to be Woody Allen for a day? He is the most arrogant man in show business but also the most self-effacing.

With humorous premise in place the show dives into sketches about the new Woody’s life. We see his rise to fame off the back of one joke about his disastrously short marriage to a lesbian and later his frequent trips to his therapist. The show is very new and it shows here. The jokes need a little refining but they show a lot of promise. “It’s Chanukah for Christ’s sake,” really made me giggle.

With the moose hogging all the attention no one has mentioned the elephant in the room – The Boy Who Was Woody Allen is a musical. I have nothing against musicals but I like a little warning and I want the music to fit the piece. Nothing about Woody Allen says “musical” to me. It says great music, specifically jazz of which he is fan, but but not characters breaking into song. I haven’t seen every Woody Allen film – he has directed nearly 50 – but none of the ones I have seen have been musicals. None of the press suggests this would be a musical either, which made the decision to bring my friend who can’t stand musicals a mistake.

To a casual fan, musicals and moose are not the hallmarks of Allen’s work. The moose comes from one of his early stand-up routines which is partially told throughout the course of the show. The joke is three minutes and 30 seconds long. In the show the moose spends five minutes ranting about Santa unions and how moose can’t get any work since the reindeer muscled them out. Like much of the show, it is a funny concept that is dragged out for too long.

The show is entertaining and the crowd clearly enjoyed it. There wasn’t an empty seat in the house so they are on to something here. No one wants a rehash of the films when they already own the dvd box set, but I was expecting something closer to the source material. With the exception of the raunchy numbers by the therapist (Carrie Marx) and the erotic baker (Fliss Russell) the songs were out of character and slowed down the action.

Is Woody Allen a superhero bent on holding back the threat of communism? I honestly don’t know. Ask the moose.

The Boy Who Was Woody Allen is playing at The Pleasance Theatre Islington until 9 February. For more information and tickets, see http://www.pleasance.co.uk/islington/events/the-boy-who-was-woody-allen.