Thursday, 7 October 2010

Britney Spears: The Cabaret ****1/2

Britney Spears: The Cabaret
Written by Dean Bryant
Where and When: Chapel off Chapel, until Oct 24 
Reviewer: Kate Herbert
Stars: ****1/2

Christie Whelan is a musical and cabaret talent not to be missed. She made me want to hug Britney Spears – a huge surprise to me, not being a Britney fan in this, or any other lifetime. I also wanted to slap her.

In this intimate and sensational cabaret, Britney Spears: The Cabaret, Whelan, writer Dean Bryant and pianist Matthew Frank, mercilessly satirise the vacuous, perky but troubled, pop diva then spin 180 degrees with a poignant depiction of Britney’s life.

She is propelled by an ambitious stage mother into TV and pop music where she flails, abuses drugs and alcohol, marries badly twice, loses her children in a court battle, is hounded by paparazzi, shaves her head, mimes on stage, sings off-key and appears in her underwear.

The charismatic Whelan – tall, blonde, vivacious, with a fine voice and poured into a little, black mini-dress  – plays Britney with a mischievous twinkle. The lyrics of Britney’s hit songs have new meaning when threaded between her life stories.

I’m A Girl, Not Yet a Woman tells all in its title. Oops I Did It Again, I’m a Slave for You, Toxic and Womanizer reveal her foolish choice in men while Overprotected has sad echoes of her domineering father sending her to a psychiatric ward. This is a masterpiece of cabaret.

By Kate Herbert

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