Tag Archives: King’s Head Theatre

Happily Ever Poofter

★★★★

King’s Head Theatre

Happily Ever

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

Happily Ever Poofter

King’s Head Theatre until 8th February

 

Last ten shows reviewed at this venue:
Mating In Captivity | ★★★★ | July 2019
Oddball | ★★★½ | July 2019
How We Begin | ★★★★ | August 2019
World’s End | ★★★★ | August 2019
Stripped | ★★★★ | September 2019
The Elixir Of Love | ★★★★★ | September 2019
Tickle | ★★★★ | October 2019
Don’t Frighten The Straights | ★★★ | November 2019
The Nativity Panto | ★★★★ | December 2019
Falling in Love Again | ★★ | January 2020

 

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Candy

Candy

★★★★

King’s Head Theatre

Candy

Candy

King’s Head Theatre

Reviewed – 19th January 2020

★★★★

 

“Waller’s technique of confiding in us, seeking affirmation from individual after individual in the audience is effortless and effective”

 

Tim Fraser’s ‘Candy’ benefits from an intriguing story idea. Will, a regular guy from a regular Northern town, falls in love with his best friend’s drag persona, Candy. The power of a good premise is evident in the work’s origin, picked out from around a thousand submissions to be staged at the Bunker Theatre in 2018, and here it is, playing to a full house at the Kings Head Theatre, in a new, full-length version.

The play’s second asset is the character of Will himself, tongue-tied in real life but possessed of a sparkling and relentless internal monologue delivered with stamina and charm by Michael Waller. As Will tells of his angst, his dreams, of his fury at the lies sown by his Aunt’s romantic comedy collection, his contemplation of anatomy in the matter of attraction and the alienation he feels amongst his heteronormative friends and colleagues, Waller’s technique of confiding in us, seeking affirmation from individual after individual in the audience is effortless and effective.

Admittedly, from its promising springboard, the tale doesn’t get far. Will doesn’t grow, his besotted state seems neither lustful, nor part of a greater transformation. There’s no sense that Bill, the quirky, indeed wilful, mate from school that went down to the Big Smoke and created Candy, is the real connection he’s striving to make. Instead, the hour’s narrative is pithily summarised by Will himself in an anticlimactic moment of revelation, when he simply confesses, ‘In short, I’m confused.’

The production, devised by the performer himself, never escapes the confines of Will’s head, but Nico Pimparé’s direction keeps things lively with strategically placed folding chairs and a microphone stand for Will to stroll and cavort between, while Stephen Waller’s original music conveys a far-from raunchy drag act as the object of Will’s confusion and elsewhere builds atmosphere unobtrusively.

If, as programme notes hint, a film adaptation may be in the works, Tim Fraser has his work cut out. The idea of a Northern English town with no understanding of drag culture is quaint, and despite Will’s candour and hilarious male logic, nothing quite happens. There’s almost a breakthrough when Will realises that his toad-like Aunt was herself a very different persona in early life…but no, no epiphany, no insight into the social construct of identity, no realisation that love is deeper than a moment of boozed up infatuation. On his mother’s advice, Will retreats to the embrace of Aunt’s sofa-indentations and resigns not to meet Candy, or Bill, again. However, if a second or third act is forthcoming, perhaps one day we might.

 

Reviewed by Dominic Gettins

Photography by Faidon Loumakis

 


Candy

King’s Head Theatre until 20th January

 

Last ten shows reviewed at this venue:
Margot, Dame, The Most Famous Ballerina In The World | ★★★ | July 2019
Mating In Captivity | ★★★★ | July 2019
Oddball | ★★★½ | July 2019
How We Begin | ★★★★ | August 2019
World’s End | ★★★★ | August 2019
Stripped | ★★★★ | September 2019
The Elixir Of Love | ★★★★★ | September 2019
Tickle | ★★★★ | October 2019
Don’t Frighten The Straights | ★★★ | November 2019
The Nativity Panto | ★★★★ | December 2019

 

Click here to see our most recent reviews