It would be unreasonable to go into a musical that takes football and footballing culture as its source material and expect a healthy portrayal of male and female relationship. It would also be unreasonable for a producer to dish out two plus hours of ditzy humourless trolls, a wronged ‘everywoman’ who finds escaping the violent grip of an abusive relationship a piece of cake one she unmasks the Olly Murs-like charms of the caretaker, and a demanding and belittling store-manager who loses all sense of authority once his employers discover he is a – shock! horror! – homosexual.
A musical that focuses so shamelessly on pink, stiletto’d girlieness needs to have an eye turned to feminist issues – whether that be in celebrating the women who make a career out of manipulating both men and under-wiring (not the easiest angle for a production to take, but certainly a mine for screwed-up psychological drama and guilty intrigue), or in putting forth a jewel-dropping critique of the society that rewards such questionable figures.
Such a musical also needs to be in tune. Sadly Wag! failed to tick that box too, as its singers were as faithless to established musical conventions as its male characters were to their spouses and lovers.
Finally, with theatre (thankfully!) having the lead on football when it comes to LGBTQ ideas, it needs to show that homosexuality needn’t necessary come with a fall from grace.
A flat production of a vile script.