Dizney in Drag: Once Upon a Parody – Underbelly Festival Cavendish Square, London

Reviewer: Emily Davison

Writer and Director: The Hairy Godmothers Collective

Ever wondered what Disney characters get up to behind closed doors? Well, this pantomime-style parody explores the kinks and fantasies of the childhood characters we know and love.

Following The Hero’s quest to find true love, The Hairy Godmothers presents a journey of self-discovery, acceptance and erotica. The protagonist meets Disney characters, offering nostalgia to an adult-based audience. However, each character introduces the hero to a new and different aspect of love or lust. Containing themes of masculinity, sexual exploration and periods, Dizney in Drag leaves the audience howling in their seats.

Jae West, the protagonist and The Hero in this story, leads the audience through their pursuit of love. West’s performance is dramatized and cringe-inducing but in an engaging and comedic way. They use exaggerated movements and facial expressions when meeting and reacting with the other characters and offer naivety when learning different lessons along the way. This plays on the unrealistic nature of the Disney stories that they are based on, which paint love to be easy and tame. It indicates that as adults we still have a lot to learn, and this helps in the development of our love for ourselves and the people around us.

The Hairy Godmother, played by Owen Merriman, acts as a confidant and friend to the audience, breaking the fourth wall and making punny and sarcastic jokes at the expense of audience members in the front row. Her bluntness and honesty are refreshing and her protection and need to help the Hero make her character lovable and engaging. In addition, the bottomless (if you pardon the pun) supply of props and beers which come from under her skirt becomes a familiar but always funny gag which never fails to provoke laughter throughout the theatre.

A notable performance comes from Strap-on, played by Emma MacMillan, who is a modern and sexualised take on Gaston from Beauty and the Beast. MacMillan’s performance is humorous and energetic, and she carries amazing vocals throughout the whole performance. The lyrics in her song are witty and leave the audience crying tears of laughter from the X-rated jokes and movements throughout.

The writing in this piece is sharp and clever, as well as educational. As a piece of theatre that is supposed to inform in a comedic way, this show does just that. Tinkerbell’s scene and song, performed and sung by Mita Hill, uncovers the reality of periods and the menstrual cycle in a way that removes the disgust and embarrassment which is placed on it and paints it as a normal and natural moment in a woman’s life. The words flow (pun intended) within the parodied song of Colours of the Wind and truly show the female body as a beautiful and organic thing.

Dizney in Drag: Once Upon a Parody is a humorous, flirty and informative piece of theatre, which, although not for the young and faint-hearted, will leave each audience member in fits of laughter.

Runs until 14 July 2024

The Reviews Hub Score

Frisky, Funny and Fantastic

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The Reviews Hub - London

The Reviews Hub London is under the acting editorship of Richard Maguire. The Reviews Hub was set up in 2007. Our mission is to provide the most in-depth, nationwide arts coverage online.

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