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Miss Atomic Bomb

"If you look at this diagram
Of the common Russian brain
They have enlarged evil craniums
And each one is insane
Good citizens be wary
Cuz their leader looks real scary
They like to drown kittens
And their women are hairy
It's a Cold War"

— General Schmul lyrics to "It's a Cold War"
Miss Atomic Bomb
Catherine Tate as Myrna and Simon Lipkin as Lou (Photo: Bronwen Sharp )
Miss Atomic Bomb is a quirky new musical set in Las Vegas and a sheep farm in the Utah desert. The time is 1952 when all of America is excited by the tests for the new atomic bomb.

Our heroine with a beautiful voice and a Doris Day personality is Candy Johnson (Florence Andrews) who finds that her dead grandmother's caravan is mortgaged up to the hilt. The explanation is that every night her octogenarian granny was drinking and gambling at cards and roulette and getting herself into debt.

Joey Lubowitz (Dean John-Wilson) is an American soldier who deserts when asked to walk into the mushroom cloud set off by the bomb test in the desert. His brother Lou, admirably played by Simon Lipkin, works for a failing hotel in Vegas owned by the New Yorker Jewish Mafia. After the demise of the manager, Lou is asked to find ways to make the hotel profitable and with Joey he comes up with the idea of a beauty contest to crown Miss Atomic Bomb at the Golden Goose in Vegas.

Candy and her best friend Myrna Ranapapadophilou (Catherine Tate) set off for Vegas when they realize there is no future in sheep farming as the fallout from the bomb has killed the sheep. The army's explanation of course is that the sheep have starved to death. Myrna's dream job was to dress mannequins in Doomtown, the mock up town designed to test the effect of irradiation on humans and livestock like piggies. Myrna has agreed to make over country girl Candy for the beauty contest. Meanwhile Joey is escaping the army red caps in full Hassidic outfit and there are the curious machinations of a mad scientist Professor Alvin Schmul (Stephane Anelli).

The plot meanders its zany course. Dean John-Wilson is Joey is to be Aladdin in the West End Disney musical when it opens in May. and Florence Andrews sing and act exceptionally well. Their duet "When Things Get Rough" nails Candy's determined character and introduces Joey's life-long talent for getting out of a scrape by running away.

Laughs are always there and Catherine Tate's comic timing is superb and, when combined with Simon Lipkin's shot in the foot Lou, the result is mayhem. Tate's American accent occasionally lapses into the Antipodean but it all adds to her anarchic character. One of the villains, besides the jokey Mafia and the army General (David Birrell), is the repossessing agent Beverley Potts (Daniel Boys). His refrain of the mortgage account number "59643" is redolent of Les Mis as is the declamatory style of his songs as the banker with low self esteem.

Bill Deamer's dance scenes work. The opening number "Atomic City USA" is punchy and fun. Simon Lipkin, injured by the Mafia, manages to limp and tap dance at the same time. I liked too the Vegas show girls who sing about the tourist attraction of the atomic theme, the mushroom cloud hairdos, the atomic cocktails and views of the blast area fireballs. Dramatic filmed projections show the explosions in full colour.

Miss Atomic Bomb with its satirical humour, tongue in cheek lyrics and accessible tunes is thoroughly enjoyable.

Miss Atomic Bomb
Written by Adam Long, Gabriel Vick, Alex Jackson-Long
Co-Directed by Bill Deamer and Adam Long
Starring: Catherine Tate, Simon Lipkin, Florence Andrews, Dean John-Wilson, Daniel Boys, Stepahne Anelli, Charles Brunton
With: Jessica Buckby, David Birrell, Olivia F ines, Ryan Gover, Alyn Hawke, Sion Lloyd, Suzie McAdam, Kirk Patterson, Sasi Strallen
Set and Costume Designer: Ti Green
Choreographer: Bill Deamer
Lighting: Tim Deiling
Sound: Gareth Owen
Projection Design: Jack Henry James
Musical Supervisor and Orchestrations: Matthew Brind
Musical Supervisor and Arrangements: Richard John
Running time: Two hours 3 0 minutes with an interval
Box Office: 0844 264 2140
Booking to 9th April 2016
Reviewed by Lizzie Loveridge based on 14th March 2016 performance at the St James Theatre, Palace Street, London SW1E 5JA (Tube: Victoria)
Musical Numbers
Act One
    "Atomic City USA"
  • "California"
  • "Bank Man"
  • "California Reprise"
  • "When Things Get Rough "
  • "Welcome to Las Vegas"
  • "That Girl (is Miss Atomic Bomb)"
  • "Where's There's Sheep There's Hope"
  • "Fallout"
  • "Sheep Lament"
  • "Radio Jingle"
  • "When the Bombs Go Boom "
  • "Radioactive Love"
  • "Myrna's Song"
  • "Act One Finale "
Act Two
  • "Cold War"
  • "I'll Stay With You"
  • "Who will Be Miss Atomic Bomb"
  • "I Love America"
  • "Catflap"
  • "Desert Flower"
  • "The Sun Went Down"
  • "Sugar Daddy"
  • "And The winner Is …"
  • "How Beautiful You Are"
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