Simon Cowell Musical!

A West End musical about Simon Cowell and TV show The X Factor has received a largely positive response from critics.

“This flawed but funny show gets a yes from me,” wrote Dominic Maxwell in The Times, who praised its “glorious gags” and “delectably silly set pieces”.

The Daily Telegraph’s critic found I Can’t Sing! “wildly eccentric and often wonderfully funny”, while the Express’s called it “surprisingly hard-hitting”.

Simon Cowell joined a starry opening night audience to see himself parodied.

The music impresario is played on stage by former EastEnders actor Nigel Harman, with other actors playing characters based on fellow X Factor regulars Cheryl Cole, Louis Walsh and Dermot O’Leary.

Conceived by comedian Harry Hill and his writing partner Steve Brown, I Can’t Sing! tells of a luckless young Londoner, played by Cynthia Erivo, who becomes a contestant on the ITV talent show only to find herself beset by the vicissitudes of overnight fame.

“It’s an affectionate spoof and occasionally we go for the jugular,” said Hill, adding that he thought Cowell would find it “flattering” to have a show built around his flamboyant ‘Mr Nasty’ persona.

“It’s painful at times but it’s great fun,” said Cowell of the musical, which depicts him as a money-obsessed, shiny-toothed control freak in high-waisted trousers.

“It’s one of those things where you’ve just got to grin and bear it.”

The 54-year-old is one of the producers of the musical that has been the subject of some speculation following reports earlier this month of cancelled previews, technical difficulties and extended intermissions.