With the super-injunction, there’s no indiscretion that can’t be covered up with cash. ’Twas ever thus, according to Glenn Chandler’s musical peek into a Victorian male brothel.
After discovery by the police, the poor telegram boys of 19 Cleveland Street bore the brunt of the new laws against homosexuality, while rich customers – strongly rumoured to include Queen Victoria’s grandson – escaped charges. It’s a sudden lurch into injustice for a piece that’s mostly content to romp.
Chandler leaves out any seediness, making prostitution seem a Boy’s Own adventure. Expect double entendres and bottom-slapping a-plenty. But he doesn’t quite seem sure of his subject: is it the boys, society scandal or old-timer John Saul (Paul Brangan)?
Strong work from Josh Boyd-Rochford as the self-styled ‘madame’ and a twist of music hall helps, but for every catchy number there’s a bum note.