Preview: WAG! the musical
Porgy and Bess meet Posh and Becks in this upcoming musical about footballers’ wives and girlfriends’.
That WAG! the musical will be showing in the theatre 10 years after staff at the Jumeirah Beach Club first used the term in reference to Victoria Beckham is fitting. Britain’s penchant for celebrity gossip and obsession with status has only increased during that time — that the Daily Mail’s website is the most visited newspaper portal in the world is not only testament to this — it proves that we do it better than anybody else, too. Some may not see this as a positive trait, so it’s a good job one of our nation’s better characteristics, that of being able to poke fun at ourselves, is set to be demonstrated on the stage when the upcoming satirical production WAG! the musical lands this Summer.
It debuts at Ye Olde Rose & Crown Theatre Pub in Walthamstow on June 4 before going on a run of 20 shows. The cast has been assembled to avoid obvious choices like Danielle Lloyd, Colleen Rooney or Abbey Clancey (there must be a law against such levels of self-parody) in favour of relatively unknown WAGs and experienced actresses. Jessica Lawlor, the fiancé of Aston Villa’s Stephen Ireland, is the most genuine WAG of the bunch and will also be making her theatre acting debut. BBC Fame Academy’s Pippa Fulton, now a theatre actress and girlfriend of Brentford striker Clayton Donaldson, will be lending the production her credible singing and acting chops, and Belinda Owusu has previously appeared in Eastenders.
In staging the timing of WAG! the musical, producer Karen Struel-White has certainly struck while the iron is hot. While still very much a staple diet of celebrity gossip magazines and websites, WAGs now co-exist in the mainstream media along with a new generation of inspired television personalities who have adopted their traits and taken them to the extremes. We are currently swimming in a sea of programmes like The Only Way Is Essex, Jersey Shore and Keeping Up With The Kardashians, which are just a few examples of ludicrously popular shows whose fans gleefully subscribe to their specific brand of dumbed-down pseudo-reality television.
The proverbial brow may be low enough to stick to the heel of one of Amy Childs’s Louboutins, but that’s where the appeal of such shows and celebrity WAG culture lies: it’s entertaining, doesn’t take itself too seriously and exists within a world of “what if”, pandering to everybody’s innermost thoughts on what sort of person they would be if they had oodles of money, a penchant for fashion and a distinctly care-free lifestyle.
Sometimes it’s necessary to pause and reflect on whether the WAG lifestyle, when it comes down to it, is all that desirable, and the way that some people will stop at nothing to find fame is bound to be a central theme in the production.