There must be few better places to watch a perfomance than in the astounding Minack Theatre, carved out of the cliff face in England’s far southwest, just a few deserted coves from Land’s End. Even if the show is a dud, there remains the backdrop of Atlantic Ocean, rocky coastline, untramelled beaches, the night sky and maybe even a pod of sporty dolphins.
Fortunately no such distractions were needed for Moby Dick The Musical, the cult romp that has been performed in numerous bizarre settings and with some odd variations, including one at a gay roller disco in Clapham.
Written by song-and-dance man/actor Robert Longden and composer/actor Hereward Kaye, with input and backing from Cameron Mackintosh, Moby Dick makes no pretence at sophistication.
It is a show within a show, with the girls of St Godley’s Academy for Young Ladies (a latter day St Trinian’s) staging a show to raise money to save their cash-strapped school. The pace is fast, the jokes are in the Benny Hill mould and the songs are a pastiche of almost every musical ever written.
As a lively spoof and punning pastiche it goes from song to song at a quite breathless pace. Its multi-talented (amateur) cast play double and triple roles with numerous (and hilarious) costume changes. Some of the solo singers were at times engaged in a losing search for the right note but the chorus work was a full-on, clap-your-hands and tap-your-feet delight.
Such a show really needs a more intimate setting and better acoustics than exist at the Minack. But who cares? There’s always that magnificent backdrop to enjoy.