Thursday, 19 January 2012

Britney Spears: The Cabaret, Jan 18, 2012 ****1/2

By Dean Bryant
The Harbour Agency & Luckiest Productions
Midsumma Festival
Chapel off Chapel, Prahran, Jan 18 to 29, 2012
Reviewer: Kate Herbert on Jan 18, 2012
Stars: ****1/2
Published in Herald Sun on Mon, Jan 23, 2012 (See review on this blog of first production, Oct 7, 2010)

Christie Whelan in Britney Spears: The Cabaret

Nearly 18 months after the 2010 premier of Britney Spears: The Cabaret, the charismatic and mischievous Christie Whelan still makes us laugh and cry at her depiction of the vacuous but troubled pop star and her demented behaviour.

Whelan, with her versatile voice and wearing a frighteningly brief, black frock that reveals her knickers more than once, lights up the stage with Brit’s own hit songs and Dean Bryant’s mercilessly satirical versions of them.

Britney’s personal life is now less controversial with her upcoming, third wedding, but her past remains absurd and chaotic.

Her stage mother steered her into child stardom which led to drug and alcohol abuse, losing her children in a court battle, being hounded by paparazzi, weight loss and gain, appalling relationships and embarrassing public appearances.

Whelan, with director Bryant and pianist Matthew Frank, compels even the most anti-Britney people to sympathise with the blonde diva, and the lyrics of her hits gain new meaning when woven into her life story.

Britney, the child that cannot grow up, is revealed in I’m A Girl, Not Yet a Woman, her dangerous choice in men is highlighted in I’m a Slave for You, Oops I Did It Again, Toxic and Womanizer while Overprotected has sad echoes of the domineering father who sent her to a psychiatric ward.

By Kate Herbert

Song list:
Piece of me
Slave for you
Me against the music
Oops- I did it again
Over protected
Not a girl
Out from under
Baby one more time
Every time

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