Review: I Can't Sing

By John Nathan, April 7, 2014
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London Palladium, London W1

It's a source of some relief that when the title song of this homage to - and pee-take of - Simon Cowell and his X Factor TV show has its moment, it transpires that the singer in question can sing very well indeed. In fact, what makes this trash TV-inspired evening so enjoyable is that pretty much all the areas in which a musical needs to work well are on song here.

Vladimir Putin could learn a thing or two about soft-power from Cowell. The TV mogul has backed this show, waived God knows how many intellectual property laws that could be invoked to hinder the production and allowed a good many gags to rip into him. In the process he's proved that he's big enough not to be a bully.

You need to know the TV show to get the most out of the grotesque characterisations. Simon Bailey's version of Dermot O'Leary (Liam O'Deary) is one long swagger running on cheeky chappy charm. Victoria Elliott's Cheryl Cole (Jordy) is a vacuous narcissist while Nigel Harman's deadpan Cowell (erm, Simon) is a manipulative egomaniac.

And although Steve Brown's songs bring to mind some well-known pop tunes, they sound like decent well-known pop tunes.

This is actually rather good.

    Last updated: 11:05am, April 7 2014