Londonist Rating: ★☆☆☆☆
It’s initially hard to fathom how a show that tries so hard to shock can be so boring. But as you emerge — exhausted — into the Soho night after watching Number 1, The Plaza, the answer becomes obvious. There is about half an hour of averagely witty insight about girls in a house-share, but this modest amount of comic material is stretched over an hour and a half. And it’s that extra hour that’s interminable — no matter if it is peppered with increasingly outrageous stunts (see headline).
The show’s set-up doesn’t add up to much: two 20-somethings, Lucy and Jen, slowly (and we really mean slowly) get drunk while belting out show tunes from the shallow end of that genre. Imagine that bit when Bridget Jones caterwauls All By Myself stuck on repeat.
Lucy and Jen make up the public face of Getinthebackofthevan — that name being a clue to the inspiration behind this show. This is meant to be a female Withnail And I, an awkward double act with a neurotic one and a shouty posh one getting wasted and trading overripe insults. But while the 1987 cult film balances memorable lines of dialogue with stretches of sombre introspection, Number 1, The Plaza simply has blather broken up by nothing.
It’s certainly awkward — and sitting on the front row (next to two grannies who’d mistakenly come in for the show tunes) we got a cramp in the mouth from grinning.
Then there’s the shocking stuff and well, let’s say first that we love a bit of envelope pushing. Kim Noble, who strode this same stage just a few weeks ago went down the same route with his unethical — borderline criminal — antics. And he was brilliant: filthy, beautiful and moving. The problem with Number 1, The Plaza is it’s just not very bright. The six people who walked out in the last 10 minutes when we went didn’t do so because they were appalled, they did so because they were bored out of their brains.
Our advice to Jen and Lucy is fire the current director and find one who knows how to edit a performance — keep all the fanny flashing and poo play — but please just get on with it.
Number 1, The Plaza runs until 12 April at Soho Theatre, Dean Street W1. Tickets £15/£12.50. Londonist saw this performance on a complimentary ticket.