Disenchanted – The Hilarious Hit Musical

Athenaeum Theatre Disenchanted - photo by Rick MonkThis not-suitable-for-kids Off-Broadway hit explores a not-so-happily ever after for your favourite fairy tale princesses. The cabaret-style musical keeps the audience laughing the whole way through with sass and sarcasm to boot.

This show is crude, the characters are bitter, the perfect anecdote to years of two-dimensional, too skinny, mostly white leading ladies. These Princesses have a lot to say and want a lot more out of life than just finding a Prince Charming. They tackle big issues facing modern women including sexism and cultural insensitivity. It’s refreshing to see a live show with multiple powerful female characters who each get to show off their strengths.

Starring a formidable all-female cast led by Ellie Nunan as Snow White, with Tayla Johnston as Sleeping Beauty, Courtney Underwood as Cinderella, Demi Phillips as the Little Mermaid, Belle and Rapunzel, Asabi Goodman as the Princess Who Kissed the Frog and Jennifer Trijo as Mulan, Pocahontas and Badroulbadour (also known as Jasmine).

Underwood’s Cinderella was outstanding, an endearing mix of a strong yet ditsy character whose talent and silliness were equally impressive. Phillips also shone portraying three unique characters with conviction. She started with the insanity of turning Belle from a witty French girl into someone who talks to inanimate objects, then the Little Mermaid who wonders if she gave up too much for her man and finally a furious Rapunzel who makes Not v’one red cent, as the song goes, from the commercial exploitation of her image. Supported by Snow White and Cinderella, Rapunzel’s song was a highlight of the show.

Disenchanted requires strong vocals, impeccable comedic timing and a bit of improvisation for good measure. This cast was certainly up to the task. They do it with style and flare, belting out witty tunes such as All I wanna do is eat and Big tits, backed by a three-piece band. Audience participation was encouraged and would have worked well in a cabaret venue where even further interaction would have been possible.

The set was simple yet effective, enhanced by the lighting design that varied the mood and brought colour to the stage. The costumes were suitable, making the characters identifiable while modified to more practical. Badroulbadour’s inbuilt flying carpet provided visual comedy. Overall, however, the look of the show was a little lack-lustre in a theatre setting and, again, might have worked better in a cabaret venue.

Developed in New York in 2009 and making its Off Broadway premier in 2012, the show has become a hit across the United States and the world. This Australian premiere is presented by Queensland-based professional theatre company, Mad About Theatre. The show will also be staged in Western Australia later this month by the Margaret River Theatre Group.

Disenchanted – The Hilarious Hit Musical
Athenaeum Theatre, 188 Collins Street,Melbourne
Performance: Thursday 6 September 2018 – 7.30pm
Season continues to 8 September 2018
Information and Bookings: www.ticketek.com.au

Image: The Cast of Disenchanted – photo by Rick Monk

Review: Sophia Dickinson