Miss Atomic Bomb

Theatre, Musicals
2 out of 5 stars
3 out of 5 stars
(3user reviews)
 (© Tristram Kenton)
© Tristram KentonCatherine Tate (Myrna Ranapapadophilou)
 (© Tristram Kenton)
© Tristram KentonCatherine Tate (Myrna Ranapapadophilou) & Simon Lipkin (Lou Lubowitz)
 (© Tristram Kenton)
© Tristram KentonCatherine Tate (Myrna Ranapapadophilou) 
 (© Tristram Kenton)
© Tristram KentonDavid Birrell (Mr. Rosenhut), Simon Lipkin (Lou Lubowitz) & Sion Lloyd (Boo Boo)
 (© Tristram Kenton)
© Tristram KentonDean John-Wilson (Joey Lubowitz) & Florence Andrews (Candy Johnson)
 (© Tristram Kenton)
© Tristram KentonDean John-Wilson (Joey Lubowitz) & Simon Lipkin (Lou Lubowitz)
 (© Tristram Kenton)
© Tristram KentonFlorence Andrews (Candy Johnson), Daniel Boys (Mr Potts) & Catherine Tate (Myrna Ranapapadophilou) 
 (© Tristram Kenton)
© Tristram Kenton

This atomic age musical comedy has no idea what it wants to be

While he admittedly had the entire weight of the United States military industrial complex behind him, J Robert Oppenheimer developed the atom bomb in a fairly snappy three years.

That’s less than the gestation period of the average musical – because musicals are complicated beasts that require painstaking levels of workshopping and investment to get them ready for the West End or Broadway. At which point most of them flop anyway.

I’m sure lots of time and love has gone into Adam Long, Gabriel Vick and Alex Jackson-Long’s ‘Miss Atomic Bomb’. But it would seem to highlight the exact problem with making a new musical quickly, without vast sums of cash, to run in a mid-sized venue for one month only.  A decent cast and some good jokes aren’t enough to make this tonally uneven, cheap-looking show blow up. 

‘Miss Atomic Bomb’ has an intriguingly lurid premise. It’s a comedy set in the early ’50s at the dawning of the atomic age, when crowds would gather in the Nevada desert to gaze in awe at the bomb tests, transfixed by both their beauty (harmless, so long as you stayed a couple of miles away, they were assured) and also the demonstration of America’s sheer might. Meanwhile the rapidly expanding city of Las Vegas was awash with kitschy atom bomb fever – including, here, the titular beauty pageant.

But Long and Bill Deamer’s production doesn’t really know what it wants to do with the premise. It’s kind of a pastiche Bing Crosby/Bob Hope-ish comedy about two brothers – ‘weird’ hotelier Lou (Simon Lipkin) and army deserter Joey (Dean John-Wilson) – who become entangled with two sassy women – oddball clothes designer Myrna (Catherine Tate) and her tomboy BFF Candy (Florence Andrews). But it’s also got a clashing modern streak – it’s full of crude, even violent humour, random postmodern commentary and knowing attempts to send up musical tropes. Meanwhile the songs are blandly pleasant in a way that stands at odds with the show’s aspirations to edginess.

The cast are game, there are some funny lines and Tate racks up some laughs, but it’s a mess, really, an ill-matched series of gags reeled off on a cheap, barren set that does little to generate any sense of time and place. With major reworking this could maybe work, but for now ‘Miss Atomic Bomb’ is a very damp squib. 

Average User Rating

3 / 5

Rating Breakdown

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1 person listening

I really loved this show, it was tongue in cheek, kitsch & fun. The music was catchy with witty lyrics & some of the duets were pretty moving. Great staging & props. Obviously Miss Catherine Tate is a major draw & is hilarious (you could see glimpses of her TVs characters throughout) but the whole cast were great & in no way was it the Ms Tate Show. Lightweight but a recommended feel good night out.


Pleasantly surprised by this despite the mixed reviews - it's a fun story but gets a little hard to follow at times, and more like a panto or Carry On film than a musical. But there are some great moments and it has a nice story at its heart. I hope someone works on it and brings it back later with a tighter script so more people can enjoy it.