REVIEW: Happy Ever After? (Bunker Theatre) ★★★★
Do you ever wonder what happened after you closed the book of fairytales? WoLab put out a call for pieces from female and non-binary writers for their latest scratch night. The brief was to be no more than 10 minutes long, addressing the ending of a Disney Princess story and questioning if it was indeed ‘happy ever after’; putting the female characters at the front of the stage.
The ten selected pieces bring eight princesses, one wannabe and Bambi’s Mum over 90 minutes at the Bunker Theatre. Although the focus is Disney stories, this is definitely a show for adults.
‘Sink or Swim’ by Martha Watson Allpress has Ariel (Rebecca Rayne) sharing the challenges of life on dry land with a support group and questioning how easily she was allowed to give up her mermaid life. ‘What’s in the Wind Now?’ by Eva Gaynor-Smith continues the story of Pocahontas (Kavita Vyas) after Captain Smith’s departure with the discovery that they left a crewmate behind. ‘The Princess and the Gift of the Gab’ by Julia Quayle has Georgia Frost as a boyish Snow White, confessing to her past mischief and explaining what became of the Seven Dwarfs. ‘Soldiers Out of War’ by Laura Cull shows Mulan (Yu Heng Li) coming to terms with her husband’s love for a fictional boy soldier.‘I’m Not (Disney) Enough’ by Constanza Ruff brings Megara (Lorraine Amako), wife of Hercules, complaining at her exclusion from the Princess network. It seems marrying a Greek god just isn’t good enough.
‘Cinderella and Her Fella’ by Francesca McCarthy has Aimee Cassettari as Cinderella telling the tale of her marriage to the handsome prince and what became of the glass slipper. ‘Back to The Tower’ by Louise Breckon-Richards shows Rapunzel (Jennifer Oliver) as a divorced mother of three finding solace in the tower that was her prison for so many years. ‘Roar’ by Lily Shahmoon has Aurora (Kitty Schneider) explaining what it’s like to wake up after being asleep for one hundred years to find a stranger kissing you. ‘Moana and the Migrant Crisis’ by Tanya Vital takes a look at how Moana (Janaki Gerard) would fare if she appeared on our shores in her boat; it’ll take more than a demigod to save her from a stay at Yarl’s Wood. ‘Bambi’s Mom’, the final piece, performed by by Alexandra Christle, takes a dark turn with a look at MeToo.
The short monologues get straight to the point and benefit from using familiar source material as their inspiration. WoLab has done a great job of showcasing emerging talent, there are plenty of writers, actors and directors to look out for here.
Reviewed by Rhiannon Evans
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