Theatre503 is the tiny fringe theatre that pulled off a surprise Olivier win this year for The Mountaintop, so when all eyes are on it as a serious venue, it's quite funny that its next show is... Porn - The Musical. Other things that amused me before even going in: Where many shows have warnings about nudity or sexual content, this one has a warning that it does not contain any actual pornography. Instead it's a very funny, silly show, with a lot more jokes about Malta than you might expect from the subject matter (two of the four writers are from the "made-up island.")
One of these writers, Malcolm Galea, also acts as narrator, to tell the story of Stefan (Brendan Cull) who leaves Malta when he finds out his fiancee ( Jody Peach) has been cheating on him with pretty much everyone else on the island. He winds up in Hollywood, falls for porn star Sanddy-with-a-double-D (Sophia Thierens) and ends up working for porn producer Marvin Scorsleazy (David Burt.) The songs, by Boris Cezek and Kris Spiteri, manage a weird balance between smutty and quite disarmingly sweet (my favourite has to be the love song parody, "Like Herpes, I'll Stick With You.") The play apparently ran to only an hour in its Edinburgh version and has been nearly doubled in length here - occasionally it shows, and after about 45 minutes the first act seems to run out of jokes. Both Andy and I were worried in the interval that it wouldn't be able to sustain the laughs but fortunately when the whole crew decamp back to Malta in the second act things get a lot funnier again, if anything it's the better of the two acts. As well as porn and Malta, another running theme is very self-referential jokes about this being a musical, and about the tiny budget. Some times this works well - Ahmet Ahmet as Miscellaneous Man (a character familiar from any low-budget show where one actor has to play all the smaller roles) gets a funny solo where he complains about not even having a name - other times the joke is done maybe a few times too often.
Small gripes aside though this is a very funny show, performed with no-holds-barred enthusiasm by the whole cast. Although I'm no judge of these things their singing voices all seemed pretty strong to me as well - there certainly weren't, as there sometimes are in low-budget musicals, any cast members who couldn't quite reach the notes required of them. Overall well worth a look.
Porn - The Musical by Boris Cezek, Kris Spiteri, Malcolm Galea and Abigail Guan is booking until the 1st of May at Theatre503.