REVIEW – Hot Stuff (Oldham Coliseum)

© Joel C Fildes
© Joel C Fildes
Date: 9 september 2015
Upstaged rating: 

Hot Stuff premiered at the Oldham Coliseum back in November 1990 and was devised by Maggie Norris and the Coliseum’s artistic director of the time, Paul Kerryson. Following its debut, Hot Stuff played to packed audiences, received rave reviews and rocked the West End. Now, under Kevin Shaw’s direction, this cult classic returns to the Coliseum stage on its 25th anniversary in a bid to thrill, delight and rock the Oldham audience once more.

Based on the Marlowe classic Faustus, wannabe rock star Joe Soap (Benjamin Stratton) sells his soul in exchange for musical fame and a rock star lifestyle. With stars in his eyes and money on his mind, Soap strikes a demonic deal with Lucy Fur (Alan French) and ditches his ballroom dancing sweetheart Julie (Ibinabo Jack) for his place on the devil’s train.

The Hot Stuff stage gleams with gold – it is as if King Midas has paid a visit to Oldham. With gold lamé drapes and curtains framing the stage – there is certainly no shortage of sequins, glitz or glamour in this energetic and raunchy stage show. However, the whole production does take a little bit of adjusting to – the writing is incredibly loose with more than a whiff of pantomime. Nevertheless, the whole narrative anchors around some of the most well known tunes and characters from the 70’s and 80’s which gives Hot Stuff the feel good factor.

The talented cast belt out hit after hit with tremendous energy and naughtiness and the four piece band add a further dimension, with their Beatles tribute being a particular highlight. The two baddies, Paul Duckworth as The Boss and Alan French as the high heeled drag queen Lucy Fur add a hint of Rocky Horror to the production. Benjamin Stratton’s likeable Joe Soap rocks us through the ages, from disco to punk, with his transformation to Jimmy Filth. Ibinabo Jack gives a superb performance as girlfriend Julie with her interpretation of I Will Survive. Lakesha Cammock, Abigail Climer and Nicola Hawkins make a smouldering trio of Hell’s Angels.

It is easy to see how Hot Stuff attracts a cult following akin to the Rocky Horror Show and although it won’t please some of the culture vultures out there – it is all round top quality, devilishly funny entertainment.

-Kristy Stott

Hot Stuff is running at Oldham Coliseum until Saturday 26th September 2015.