Bad Boy Johnny and the Prophets of Doom is a rock musical directed by Steve Steinman the creator of Vampires Rock and the Meat Loaf Trilogy/Symphony. We saw Bad Boy Johnny and the Prophets of Doom at the Skegness Embassy Theatre April 2010, our tickets cost £15.50 for adult tickets and £11 for children’s (concession) tickets.
Bad Boy Johnny and the Prophets of Doom is a quirky rock musical with it’s own music/songs, unlike Vampires Rock that performs songs from famous rock bands like Bon Jovi, Guns and Roses, Queen etc… Bad Boy Johnny and the Prophets of Doom music is totally original which means you probably won’t recognise any of it.
The music kept you interested and was fun with the band The Lost Boys rocking out on stage. I particularly liked the newest female band member who could play a mean flute and a saxophone.
Bad Boy Johnny is originally an Australian musical that featured a young Russell Crow as the lead Johnny, it’s the first time it has been in the UK and it’s been produced by Steve Steinman producer of the Meat Loaf Trilogy and Vampires Rock.
I am a huge fan of Vampires Rock, but Bad Boy Johnny didn’t have the same flare :-(
I don’t know what it was, I can’t quite put my finger on it, but as I watched the show I felt like there was something missing from Bad Boy Johnny and the Prophets of Doom, which since I’m a fan of Vampires Rock it left me feeling slightly guilty for not enjoying it as much as I wanted to :-(
I don’t know if it was down to the show being it’s first ever tour, but there was definitely elements that wasn’t working and as I looked around at the theatre many in the audience felt it to, with people not bothering to clap when they should, which is unusual for this type of fun musical theatre show.
The story of Bad Boy Johnny was patchy and hard to follow, it felt like a drunk Englishman had written it and was experiencing regular blackout’s! Half of the time I couldn’t work out who was who and what was going on, the story jumped so many times it was like an old vinyl record on a bumpy road. I’m still not sure about the story line, after leaving the theatre I was talking to my hubby and he had a totally different idea of what the story was about to my take on Bad Boy Johnny and the Prophets of Doom, so he was as confused and in the dark as much as I was!
The story goes (I think) that Johnny who is a choir boy in a church is turned bad (though Johnny wasn’t bad, more dumb) by the corrupt/evil priest. Along the way to fame Johnny gets the opportunity to become Pope by a sort of X-factor talent show.
Now when I read the short info I had on the story online before purchasing our tickets, I assumed that the evil priest would be the Devil (or the Devil would be involved) who corrupts poor sweet choir boy Johnny and turns him to evil, a fantasy story line that would have Devils and beasties in the show, but it turns out the evil is in the human element of sex, prostitution and rape!
Bad Boy Johnny is a musical comedy, so it’s not like it’s so depraved that it’s something men watch in trench coat, but it was advertised as child friendly and anything that throws around the word rape isn’t something some parents want their young kids to hear on a fun night out.
There’s a few raunchy scenes of seductive dancing and at one point, one of the women takes off her clothes to reveal sexy underwear: bra, thong and suspenders, the type of lingerie a newly wed would wear on their wedding night.
The story could make parents of young kids feel uncomfortable, it will probably fly over the heads of the kids themselves though. Our son was old enough to see it. It’s not a traditional family show, but it’s not as bad as some stuff on TV before the water shed, so I guess it depends on the child, our 13 year old son was fine with it.
It was nice to see some new faces in Bad Boy Johnny and the Prophets of Doom. Dawn Spence who played Johnny’s Mum had a great voice, the guy who played the game show host also had a great voice and some great moves, one of the dancers who was used as a backup singer was brilliant, she usually backed up Emily Clark who played Johnny’s girlfriend Desire, I think she had red hair (not sure, I was at the back of the 1,200+ seat Embassy theatre). It’s a shame Steve didn’t give her a shot at a lead role, her voice was great and really nice to listen to.
The acting was something to be desired since the cast was mostly made up of the dancers and musicians that perform in Steve Steinmens other shows and most of them wasn’t talented at acting. It was nice to hear the dancers talk instead of just being eye candy, but they did struggle at pulling of a professional performance and this might have been one of the main reasons I didn’t warm to Bad Boy Johnny and the Prophets of Doom.
Whoever is Steve’s choreographer needs sacking since the dance moves the girls were doing was the same ones used in Vampires Rock! Someone needs to tell them there’s more dance moves in the world than the four most popular moves you get from strippers in a sleazy bar. Really sloppy :-(
The show for me lacked audience participation which is key to a successful fun musical show like Bad Boy Johnny IMHO.
The only members in the audience who got to join in was from Henry Birds small fan club (about half a dozen of them) who had probably seen Bad Boy Johnny many times and they knew when to shout out panto style, but for the rest of the crowd it was a sit down and shut up gig. There was a little clapping along to one or two of the songs, but there was a lack of enthusiasm from the cast to encourage the audience to get involved.
The rock music was OK though not memorable and didn’t hit the mark like classic songs in popular musicals like Joseph and His Amazing Technicolor Dream Coat or The Wizard of Oz where you hear them once and they become instantly memorable.
The comedy was great and Steve Steinman who played Father Maclean was his usual talented self, pulling off the pantomime like comedy with ease, but there wasn’t enough of it.
There was some nice pieces of comedy and performances that were good. Henry Bird is of course a very talented musician and great singer and played Johnny quiet well. We liked the Elvis Pope.
At the performance in Skegness it was the last night of the UK tour and the crew played a prank on Steve and Henry which was the moment of the night. Steve’s driver had got in a coffin (the coffin was part of the show) and when Steve opened the casket it scared him half to death to see his bald driver in the stage prop, which meant a fun momentary lapse in the story and lots of great gags :-) The ending was a nice touch when the stairs swallows up Father Maclean and flames appeared from beneath and was a nice touch to indicate Father Maclean’s demise to hell.
Bad Boy Johnny and the Prophets of Doom is OK, not a bad musical to go and watch once. It’s got some laughs and the music alright and would recommend if there’s nothing on the box that evening (it’s better than doing nothing). However, there was nothing memorable about the show which is a huge shame since I do like Vampires Rock. I’ve become accustomed to the cast over the last few years and they have a place in my heart, but their production of Bad Boy Johnny and the prophets of Doom didn’t move me in anyway.
It’s been difficult to write this review giving my honest opinion of Bad Boy Johnny, maybe it might get better over time, but I wasn’t that bothered about the show, left me feeling nothing but confused :-(
The laughs and the music isn’t enough to get me to go and see Bad Boy Johnny and the Prophets of Doom again at the theatre I’m afraid.
Bad Boy Johnny and the Prophets of Doom Rating
Would We Go Again : No
Would We Recommend To Others: hmmm! No
Was It Value For Money: No
Recommended For: Everyone (Warning some adult themes, which individual parents may feel uncomfortable about their young children seeing)
Star Rating 5/10.