It’s Paris in the year 1699. There’s a plague on the streets, so Madame d’Aulnoy (Eliane Morel) can’t find an audience for her musical salon. Given the conditions, it’s time (for all!) to pivot to a new style of performance, through Disenchanted: A Cabaret of Twisted Fairy Tales.
Using the mobile technology of the period – a magic mirror – Madame can contact some aggrieved minor characters. To limit the carping, each has only one song to tell us what really happened.
Seemingly aware of the audience’s own pandemic woes, the work carefully balanced scenes of tragedy with comedy. The range of characters included Olga, an “ugly sister” with a gripe against Cinderella, the (now Marxist) Golden Goose from Jack and the Beanstalk, and a sexually-adventurous Wolf from Little Red Riding Hood who switched this 6.00pm show to being strictly for adults.
Whilst the odd segment took a little while to get going, and some modern feminist references were a little forced, writer and performer Morel showed the quality of her voice across the offerings. Musical Director Daryl Wallis presided over a suitable harpsichord backing for scenes from Madame’s salon.
Editor Hayden Rodgers did a slick job of scene cuts and animated effects. These, combined with the costuming gave a magical edge to the viewing experience, making it a welcome departure from conventional tv watching.
Disenchanted: A Cabaret of Twisted Fairy Tales showed a thoughtful consideration of the potential pitfalls of a digital fringe format. Melbourne audiences hoping for the theatricality and inventiveness they’ve been missing in confinement will find their wish granted.
Disenchanted: A Cabaret of Twisted Fairy Tales
Melbourne Fringe Digital Program
Performance: Sunday 15 November 2020 – 6.00pm
Season continues to 29 November 2020
Information and Bookings: www.melbournefringe.com.au
Image: Disenchanted: A Cabaret of Twisted Fairy Tales (supplied)
Review: Jason Whyte