Playing dress up as beloved Disney characters is a universal childhood experience, but what happens when it’s left to professional drag queens? The Hairy Godmothers prove that you can wish upon a star at any age with their adult cabaret extravaganza, reinventing much-loved childhood characters with contemporary twists to create a show that honours nostalgia and originality in equal measure to create a hilariously naughty show.
This charmingly dysfunctional story follows a character, generically named ‘The Hero’, who, aided by the Hairy Godmother, is on a quest to find their one true love, before being enlightened to the idea that the only person who really needs to love you is yourself. The story's format was nothing particularly inventive but worked effectively as a natural means of intertwining a plethora of Disney's most loved characters within one universe. The show opens with an explosion of character, seeing many much-loved figures filling the stage in an attempt to fit into The Hero’s glass slipper. The story sees us meet characters such as Snow White, Peter Pan, Tinkerbell and Princess Jasmine, a charming melding of our favourite Disney universes. A recurring standout of the show was The Hairy Godmother herself, who, dressed in a huge Marie Antoinette-style ball gown, from which she frequently pulled out objects for comedic effect, provided much-needed dry humour throughout that undercut the absurd, relentless camp energy.
The quick-witted cast bounced off the audience to create a connection that filled the room with consistent infectious laughter, working the crowd with relevant and sharply timed ad-libs and meta-theatrical references. The musical content does not disappoint, with clever parodies of Disney classics often featuring crude messages, leaving the audience in stitches, though urged to question the moral standard we hold our childhood heroes and heroines to and whether they really do represent 'happy ever after'... A particular audience favourite was a raunchy reimagining of one of Beauty and the Beast's seminal numbers, now renamed 'strapon', left little to the audience's imagination, but had them on their feet, clapping and cheering all the same. The interactivity with the audience was another highlight of the show, with queens coming into the crowd, asking questions and finding volunteers for certain parts of the show, keeping the audience on their toes at all times. A special commendation must go to the decedent and vibrant costume design, that transports the audience to a magically camp world that marries the art of drag with the classic Disney style we all know and love, so perfectly.
Dizney in Drag is a parody, but do not mistake me, there are important messages to be extracted from this seemingly absurd cabaret, urging its audience to challenge mass-marketed images of 'true love' through a quick-witted, high-camp visual masterpiece, with messages about equal rights and safe sex cleverly dotted in along the way.
Camp, colourful, creative and crazy - this wonderfully naughty parody will put you in stitches and leave you with a message.
Venue 25, Gilded Balloon Patter Hoose - Big Yin, 18:40, 16-20, 22-27 August