Edinburgh Fringe 2009
For too long, our young women have had very few role models, and indeed, the chief amongst them has been Disney princesses. This, essentially, is the idea behind this Cabaret style redressing of some of the most iconic characters in the canon, while tackling some of the most asked questions about the films (go on, find one girl who fancied the handsome prince the Beast turned into more than the Beast himself).
Considering the mood of the piece, we would’ve liked the girls to get a bit meaner a bit quicker (the Princesses are more than often represented as being a little wet), but soon enough the piece finds its strength, and we’re presented with a group of Princesses who are confident enough to engineer their own Happy Ever Afters.
Belle (who appears to have more than a little of the Sarah Silvermans about her), is neatly portrayed, as she deals with the concept of inanimate objects talking to her, and the rather more pressing issue of Stockholm Syndrome, and there’s a neatly vicious attack on where we find our female heroes today (step forward, Stephanie Meyer), while we like the fact that Jasmine is frustrated by a clueless Aladdin, being unable to fulfil her ambassadorial duties (it’s a little like Hilary Clinton finding herself married to Peter Andre).
There are a collection of great songs here, including a truly wonderful riff on Justin Timberlake, a sweet love song suggesting that the romance of your life is simply ‘okay’, and will do until something better comes along, and, in closing, a majestic number that manages to entirely change the meaning of A Whole New World with seemingly only changing the bare minimum of words so as to avoid copyright censure.
It’s a show that might have benefited from a later slot, and a rowdier atmosphere (it’s not necessarily for kids, at least), but there’s no doubt that these women will conquer all.