Tag Archives: Simone Murphy

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

 

Click here to see our most recent reviews

 

Happily Ever Poofter
★★★★

Above the Stag

Happily Ever Poofter

Happily Ever Poofter

Above the Stag

Reviewed – 2nd July 2019

★★★★

 

“this is a frivolous, fun fairy tale that draws attention to a serious issue in LGBTQ+ representation”

 

We had to wait until 2017 for Disney’s first ever gay character to make it on screen – namely Gaston’s sidekick LeFou in Bill Condon’s ‘Beauty and the Beast’ live action remake. Cyrus Goodman, from Disney Channel’s ‘Andi Mack’, created a stir in February this year for being the first character on a Disney show to say “I’m gay” after coming out in Season Two. And we all can’t wait for Jack Whitehall’s mysterious “openly gay” character in next year’s ‘Jungle Cruise’. Despite all this, we all know Disney has a long way to go for LGBTQ+ representation, and it’s precisely this that comes under fire in Rich Watkins hilariously risqué cabaret show, now doing a run of Edinburgh previews.

This one-man-marathon sees Prince Henry leaving the land of fairy tales and princesses to enter the ‘real world’ and discover what it means to be gay. His fairy godfather shows him the way into the London gay “scene” where he meets an array of charming men (from Bashful to… erm… Sleepy) and finds comfort and community in (you guessed it) Above the Stag. His journey teaches him some crucial lessons. By finding community, he eventually learns how to be himself – even in the hostile, heteronormative landscape of fairy tale land.

Watkins, who is both writer and performer, has constructed a charming and whimsical show. A smattering of audience participation keeps the crowd engaged and in hysterics, and his witty reimagining of Disney songs is endlessly entertaining (highlights include a recontextualised version of “Someday My Prince Will Come” that you’ll never forget). Behind the shimmer curtain lies an important message however. Gay identity is often shaped by what we see – if we don’t see ourselves, how can we learn to be ourselves?

Denholm Spurr’s direction, coupled with Simone Murphy’s choreography, ensure the silliness remains throughout, and Watkins really works hard here, responding well to audience heckles and good-spirited joining in. Watkins could be bolder with his singing (there’s a fantastic voice in there desperate to get out) and could trust his audience with the jokes more, but overall this is a frivolous, fun fairy tale that draws attention to a serious issue in LGBTQ+ representation whilst nevertheless making sure everyone, Disney fan or no, is thoroughly entertained.

 

Reviewed by Joseph Prestwich

 

Above The Stag Theatre

Happily Ever Poofter

Above the Stag until 2nd July as part of Edinburgh Festival Fringe preview tour

 

Previously reviewed at this venue:
Title Of Show | ★★★★ | February 2019
Goodbye Norma Jeane | ★★ | March 2019
Romance Romance | ★★★★ | March 2019
Queereteria TV | ★★ | April 2019
Fanny & Stella: The Shocking True Story  | ★★★★ | May 2019

 

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