WALT Disney has a lot to answer for. Thanks to that man and his cartoon foolishness, millions of little girls have grown up certain they’ll never truly be fulfilled unless they reach two impossible milestones: to become a princess and to live happily ever after.
But now there’s a show that promises sweet revenge for every gal who felt herself led up the garden path, not to mention every parent who’s suffered through endless viewings of The Little Mermaid or Aladdin, fervently praying for a power cut.
Although I’d love to see more little girls and boys exposed to the feminist ideas at the heart of this rollicking hour, Princess Cabaret is not for children. It’s profane, sexually suggestive, and very, very naughty. Which is why I loved it.
Seven talented women portray Snow White, Aurora, Jasmine, Beauty, Ariel, Cinderella and Tinkerbell who, being a fairy, has issues of her own and suffers social exclusion just because she’s not a princess. They also play all the princes. Erin Turner (Snow White), who’s a dead ringer for Sadie Frost, stuck out for her sheer sauciness, but there wasn’t a dud in this well-balanced troupe, which also includes Sophie Miller (Tinkerbell), Jo Bourke (Belle), Keira Daley (Aurora), Amy Louise Hume (Cinderella), Elise Fabris (Jasmine) and Brydie Lee-Kennedy (Ariel).
The songs run the gamut of styles, from a baroque ballad to a display of cheerleading and a lullaby, to the closing number, A Whole New Girl – a song referring not to self-transformation but to a whole new way of choosing one’s partner.
At every step, they explode the notion that women need to sublimate their personalities, stand in the shadows while men sally forth, and play it meek and mild in order to get and keep a man. But, as befits a show devoted to smashing prejudices, the princesses are equal opportunity mickey-takers, and don’t hesitate to skewer the sillier diktats of feminism as well.
They could easily have delivered an hour of trite male bashing and tired jokes about the war between the sexes. Instead, PC is far smarter, and more fun than a barrel of Aladdin’s monkeys.
Until 31 August. Today 5:45pm.