From America’s sweetheart to shaved-head pop princess to “the most celebrated virgin since Mary”, Britney Spears’ career has seen the singer soar to the heights of celebrity down to the pitfalls of fame. In Britney Spears: The Cabaret, Christie Whelan is Britney Spears, giving the audience a remarkably hilarious satirical look at the plight of fame.
Written and directed by Dean Bryant with musical direction by Matthew Frank (Once We Lived Here), the show contextualises a selection of Spears’ songs into a pseudo-biographical cabaret. The tracks in the performance span the singer’s musical career featuring songs such as Circus, Sometimes, Piece of Me and many more, which are all given a wonderful jazz/cabaret makeover alongside a theatrical Whelan, bringing the often overlooked lyrics of Spears’ music to life.
Whelan’s Britney is easy to love and endearing. She is reminiscent of the bimbo-esque character Elle Woods of Legally Blond mixed in with a gloriously insightful, wicked persona, chock-full of celebrity faux pas. Specific moments in the pop star’s life from her puppy love affair with Justin Timberlake, to her infamous relationship with K-Fed, to her encounters with fans and paparazzi are explored in this cabaret. Here, Spears’ lyrics paint a personal picture of the singers’ true thoughts and feelings, often unseen in the media’s portrayal of her. By doing so, the audience is treated to discerning observations of the world of fame, and told in a first person manner, brings an irreverent yet meaningful humanistic take on the tragedy of celebrity culture. Whilst the show is tears-streaming-down-your-face hilarious, it is also deeply poignant, and perfectly balances on the tightrope of parody and satire.
Britney Spears: The Cabaret is musical comedy at its best, whether or not you are familiar with Spears’ music, irrespective of whether you’re a fan of the singer – it is a must-see. It is a well-rounded and magnificently executed cabaret production, tying in beautiful vocals, excellent comedic timing, and remarkable musical arrangement that breathes a much needed freshness to the overplayed music of Britney Spears. Furthermore, there is a particular depth to the performance that takes the show to a whole new level, from hysterical comedy, to a memorable, heartstring-tugging portrait of a fallen star.
BRITNEY SPEARS: THE CABARET
Venue: The Loft, Chapel Off Chapel | 12 Little Chapel St, Prahran
Dates: October 6 - 24, 2010
Times: Wednesday to Sunday at 7.30pm
Tickets: $35 Full, $30 Concession (+ Transaction Fee)
Bookings: (03) 8290 7000 | www.chapeloffchapel.com.au