So Wacky It's Good: EXPOSURE: THE MUSICAL at the St James

I really wasn't expecting greatness from Exposure: The Musical at the St James Theatre. Everything that I'd heard about the show was negative and that didn't set me up with high hopes, but what it did set me up with was excitement and intrigue. I was already excited enough to learn about why this show needed to happen (for those of you who don't know, Getty Images and Canon are the show's
leading producers) and also why the piece is as awful as everyone says. What I realised was that the show wasn't awful, it was just really weird. Like, really really weird. And there is something about that weirdness that I absolutely loved.

The story starts with a man named Ben who becomes one of the World's most prestigious photographers, but he's tragically shot on a job on the day his son is born. We then follow the life of his son Jimmy and how he tries his best to live up to his father's legacy. Along the way, he finds troubled friends, love in the most unlikely places, and the weirdest job offer of his life when a talent agent called Miles Mason commissions Jimmy to photograph the seven deadly sins. The story is kind of unexplained and some bits are genuinely weird and random, but there was something so bizarre and self aware about it that made it really enjoyable.

Jimmy (David Albury) is tormented as he tries to photograph the seven deadly sins

The weirdest part for me is near the end when Jimmy find himself spinning out of control while trying to photograph the seven deadly sins like he was asked to do. The very weird Miles Mason (like, Johnny Depp characters level of weird) sings a song about each of the sins as they appear to a half naked and clearly hallucinating Jimmy. It makes absolutely no sense whatsoever and is completely unexplained and random - not to mention the wacky costumes - but you're already finding it so funny by this point that you fail to care about where it fits into the plot. It's full of random moments like that and to be honest with you, it's really good fun.

The music wasn't all too bad either. While there are only a couple of bits that stuck in my head, none of the music was poor at all, just slightly forgettable. The lyrics left something to be desired though - mainly "looking through a belly button window", sung by Jimmy as a fetus - but they were so stupid that they just added to the hilarity of the situation. The choreography was also genuinely good though, with good work by Lindon Barr. Timothy Bird also did a wonderful job of making a set out of just Getty Images pictures; it was the main element of the piece that I was excited to see and while it wouldn't work in a bigger theatre than this, it definitely did something for this staging. If the stage had been cluttered up with set, then I don't think it would have had the minimalist effect that made it feel not-so-serious.

Michael Greco as Miles Mason and Niamh Perry as Pandora in Exposure: The Musical

The cast were good no matter what way you look at the piece. David Albury played Jimmy who had a wonderful voice and aged beautifully throughout the show; I really felt like I'd watched a teenager grow into a young and talented man by the end of the piece which was impressive. Natalie Anderson was the real star of the show for me with her portrayl of Tara: her vocals are incredible and she was a scene stealer in every single scene she was in. The only other cast member to have such an eye-grabbing personality like her was ensemble member Manny Tsakanika and the only female voice to rival hers was the unique sound of Niamh Perry, another star of the show.

All in all, Exposure is not the best written British musical in history and it most definitely isn't something that should be taken all too seriously. The best way to enjoy it is to see it on a Friday or Saturday night when you're in a good mood and you're ready for a bit of a laugh. It's a show that should really be taken with a pinch of salt and if you do just that, you'll probably really love it.

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