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The Stripper (King's Theatre, Glasgow 29 Sep - 3 Oct 2009)

Published by: Cameron Lowe on 30th Sep 2009 | View all blogs by Cameron Lowe

The StripperRocky Horror’s Richard O’Brien presents a new musical based on the work of Pulp Fiction novelist, Carter Brown.


Breaking new ground in the world of musical theatre is a tough gig in the 21st century.  We’ve already covered everything from Cats to Vietnam and cartoons to the Wild West in this popular theatre genre.   Lyricist Richard O’Brien, of Rocky Horror Show fame, has been inspired to put pen to paper with The Stripper to bring the world of the ‘dime novel’ to the musical stage, though, so that alone should be enough for us to sit up and take notice!


Lt. Al Wheeler (Jonathan Wrather) struggles to solve the mystery of the death of a wannabe actress.  He is drawn (not unwillingly) into the seedy world of strip joints and lonely hearts clubs as he tracks down the killer.  His key informant is night club stripper, Deadpan Delores (Emma-Jayne Appleyard) but he has no shortage of suspects including club boss, Miles Rovak (James Earl Adair) and dating agency owner Mr Arkwright (played by Richard O’Brien himself).


Despite moments of genius, the show didn’t quite hit the mark.  Establishing so many characters as suspects took a great deal of time in the first act.  Music was lively but the atmospheric 6 piece band often drowned out Mr. O’Brien’s lyrics where, I’m sure, lots of comedy value could have been found.  The first act finale, “A Man of Steel”, however, lifted the tempo and left us in no doubt about how firmly the tongue should be placed in cheek.  The improved pace continued into the second act with fabulous numbers like “Let’s Hear It For The Tough Guys”, “I Confess” (hilariously presented by Jack Edwards) and “Planning My Big Exit”.


The Pulp Fiction genre was well observed and the 1961 atmosphere was preserved by a catchy score, the practical set and sympathetic lighting (featuring particularly effective blackouts – a long lost art in my book!).  The show was reminiscent of “City of Angels” with its Los Angeles backdrop, gumshoe storyline and (sadly) its lack of broad appeal as the audience was a little thin.  Worthy of the ticket price but could do with a snappier first act.



The Stripper

Tue 29 Sep – Sat 3 Oct

Tue – Sat eves 7.30pm

Wed & Sat mat 2.30pm

Tickets: £12 - £25.50

Box Office 08448 717 648 (Bkg fee) (bkg fee)



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