Happily Ever Poofter
King’s Head Theatre
Reviewed – 23rd January 2020
“Loud, brash and camp as hell, but not without a sprinkling of heart, tenderness and passion”
January is a dreary old month. The frivolities of Christmas and New Year are a long distant memory. The cold and drizzly rain is disheartening. The short wintry days are a-dragging. But Happily Ever Poofter is here to put some sparkle, sass and serious fierceness into your life. Panto season may just be over, but this foul-mouthed, fairytale/Disney mash up is a delightfully dirty alternative.
Prince Henry comes from a magical kingdom Far Far Away. His main job is to find true love with a beautiful princess, get married, blah, blah, blah, we know the rest. But something the kingdom doesn’t know, is that their handsome prince is in fact… gay (gasp!). Henry is miserable keeping his secret locked in tight, he hates that there’s no one like him around. He wants to go somewhere he can fit in. With the help of his Fairy Godfather, his wish is granted and finds himself transported to the mystical ‘gay scene’. With men after men, parties galore, and the odd “sniff, puff, drink,” Henry seems to be living his gay dream. But not all is what it seems. Finding a happy ever after still proves difficult, and so, Henry’s quest for true love becomes an even tougher challenge, but he’s determined to find answers.
Rich Watkins is highly enjoyable to watch in this one-man show. He makes audience participation a comfortable and somewhat pleasurable experience, even when he’s giving a certain audience member shade. Rich makes the budget set and props a running gag, with his visible costume/character changes hammed up for what it is. He is highly energetic, taking command of the small space. Sweat is literally dripping off of Rich by the end as he vogues and struts around in his thigh-high PVC boots.
With a catalogue of reworked Disney songs, interspersing the performance, this is where a lot of the comedy gold lies. Rich has cleverly rewritten the classic cartoon songs to fit this story, some racier than others. Particular stand outs include Someday My Prince Will Cum, and High Ho(e).
A pleasant surprise is the more serious message the last quarter of the show focuses on, giving the performance a deeper, more layered subtext. Rich quite rightly points out that Disney is still yet to include an openly homosexual character or gay love story in any of their films, proving there is still some glass ceilings (or slippers) yet to smash with making LGBTQ+ a fully normalised and accepted part of society.
Loud, brash and camp as hell, but not without a sprinkling of heart, tenderness and passion. Happily Ever Poofter proves it has more to say than just boys, bars and bondage. And so, remember the Fairy Godfather’s words: we do believe in fairies.
Reviewed by Phoebe Cole
Happily Ever Poofter
King’s Head Theatre until 8th February
Last ten shows reviewed at this venue: