Wavering taste levels let down Rebecca Humphries' musical comedy
This article is from 2014.
Sing-a-long versions of Disney songs are played on a big screen as the audience files in. It’s a nice touch to set the mood and introduce Rebecca Humphries’ musical comedy. The show starts strongly with a number taking us through the history of Disney films and incorporates aspects of their soundtracks. At this early stage Humphries’ voice, songwriting ability and performance (along with Joanna Cichonska’s stellar piano playing) are proven. But a wavering taste level soon leads to several of the songs relying on references to sex crimes in order to add humour.
Disney films and Walt himself are often contentious subjects and to ignore this in favour of unmitigated Disney appreciation mixed with other controversial aspects strikes an odd note. This tonal confusion is echoed by the use of videos to introduce song parodies of Lena Dunham’s Girls, which itself pits a solipsistic, naïve main character against a pessimistic twentysomething culture. Add to this Humphries’ presentation, which sometimes slips into that of a laconic waif, at times reminiscent of Alice from The Vicar of Dibley and there are giant neon arrows to imply that this is something other than a Disney hagiography.
The real criticisms that can be levelled at the megalith studio – problematic depictions of race, religion and gender – are finally addressed in the closing number. Retrospectively the structure of her show makes sense, but she asks for a lot of trust from the audience before taking them there via a journey littered with paedophilia, bestiality and murder.
Fingers Piano Bar, 226 0000, until 17 Aug, 2.45pm, 18–23 Aug, 1.30pm, free.