It has been described as everything from a dog's dinner to an iceberg of terrible and awarded a desultory one-star by some of the most respected theatre critics in town. Could Wag! The Musical take the crown as the worst musical ever to hit the West End?
The reviews would suggest that the production at the Charing Cross Theatre, London might wrest that title from Spice Girls flop Viva Forever!. The musical about footballers’ wives stars former real-life WAG-turned-TV presenter Lizzie Cundy and tells the story of two working class girls Sharron (Amy Scott) and Jenny (Daisy Wood-Davis), who work at a cosmetics counter in an upmarket department store.
Here are some choice verdicts on the drama:
Paul Taylor of The Independent:
“You could be forgiven for hoping for something less shoddily empty-headed than this misbegotten mess. With a script from Tibetan author Belvedere Pashun and music and lyrics by Grant Martin, Thomas Giron-Towers and Tony Bayliss, it's a vacant, pointless compromise between ham-fisted mockery and crude glorification of the phenomenon.”
Jane Shilling of The Telegraph:
“Success is an elusive thing, but there are certain essential elements without which disaster is certain. These include a good book, decent music and lyrics, adequate design and performers who can sing and dance. WAG! is hamstrung by possessing almost none of these.”
Lyn Gardner of The Guardian:
“Sadly, not as the title might suggest, a new musical about our happy canine friends, but a vacuous trawl through the shopping habits of footballers' wives and girlfriends. There are plenty of b****es, but none you'd want to stroke in Belvedere Pashun's inept effort, which channels The Only Way is Essex, Footballers' Wives, Cinderella and Are You Being Served?, but creates a real dog's dinner. It's the kind of dreary experience – even featuring cosmetics product placement – that makes you want to gnaw your fingers to the bone and ring the Samaritans.”
Stu Black of The Londonist:
“Even if this show had come out during the 2006 World Cup when the term Wag was coined for the wives and girlfriends of England’s football squad, it still would have been about 35 years out of date. Wag The Musical feels like a church hall version of Are You Being Served? – but without the jokes, characterisation, warmth or production values.”
Terry Mills of The Mirror:
“Musically the show was more than competent but I felt with a little more time spent on it, it could have been better. While the songs were undoubtedly performed very well I could not help but feel they seemed a little samey. Though that aside, the second part of the evening was a huge improvement that had me hooked until the end. At times the show was very blue, defiantly not one for the children or the easily offended – and if you’re planning a hen night or a girls night out then this show could be the one for you.”