Since premiering at the Adelaide Cabaret Festival, this tongue-in-cheek homage to a dubious pop princess has already enjoyed several successful seasons in various cities.
It does not really matter how accurate the facts are or that the 'real' Britney's bizarre antics and troubles have created a multitude of jokes. Britney Spears The Cabaret seeks to play with, tease, even illuminate both the performer and the person.
The creative duo of Dean Bryant & Mathew Frank have managed to create a fascinating, often hilarious and at times touching biography of a life lived thus far. A life that is given more dignity and class than reality suggests.
Dean Bryant's writing and direction is the driving force that manages to capture the innocence of a child sent out to work and a confused adolescent struggling to graduate to adulthood. This works for most of the 70 minutes' running time. Unfortunately the last few scenes tend to be too dark. The tone here needs to be lifted somewhat to deliver a lighter ending.
Mathew Frank has done a superb job at re-arranging the icon's music catalogue into something quite interesting and even classy. Songs take on new meanings and become the perfect backdrop to the monologues. What was once over-produced tracks, is now given a slicker cabaret-style charm with just Frank on piano.
But of course, the star of the show is the stunning Christie Whelan. Over the last few years, this very talented performer has cemented herself as a true musical theatre leading lady. Here she shines, not only in the persona of Britney, but in her delivery of both monologues and lyrics. Whelan knows how to be very funny, but can quickly turn the card and evoke not only sympathy but even admiration for her Britney. We dont see a victim. We discover a survivor.
Britney Spears The Cabaret is a simply staged production, but one that will keep finding a captive audience. The talented trio of Bryant, Frank & Whelan have created a show which may even surprise Ms Spears herself.
Britney Spears The Cabaret
by Dean Bryant
Directed by Dean Bryant
Venue: Chapel Off Chapel | 12 Little Chapel St, Prahran
Dates: 18 – 29 January, 2012
Time: Wednesday – Sunday 7:30pm
Tickets: $35 – $30 Concession (+transaction fee)
Bookings: 03 8290 7000
Part of the 2012 MIDSUMMA FESTIVAL