It’s intermittently amusing and has a likable cast, but this satirical revue’s Disney princess disses aren’t charming enough for the price.
Snow White, Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty and most of the rest of the canonical Disney princesses are here to tell us a thing or two about “happily ever after” in this self-consciously naughty, not-for-the-kids musical revue. Disenchanted! (which, for what it’s worth, was penned entirely by a dude, one Dennis T. Giacino) takes on the tropes of what it refers to as “The Princess Complex” even as it happily (ever after) plays into other stereotypes.
While the mostly Canadian cast of this Toronto-based touring production works hard to win us over, the material they’re given overrelies on saucy innuendo about the sex lives of fairy-tale princesses or baldly bawdy tunes with titles like “Big Tits.” There are chuckles to be found here and there—see costume designer Vanessa Leuck’s clever solution for Princess Balroulbadour (you know her by her Disney name, Aladdin’s Jasmine) and her flying carpet.
Yet that was also the moment that clued me in to exactly why Disenchanted! feels so out of place at Water Tower Place. The show was born at the Orlando Fringe Festival, and while this production might be playing to fancier houses, its ambitions are still fringe-sized. I’d been thinking of Disenchanted!, with its look-at-us risqué references, as the bachelorette party store of stage entertainments.
But that magic carpet costume revealed the truth: This is a drag show that happens to be cast with women. It’s a Mary’s Attic or Hydrate revue but at Broadway in Chicago prices (with fees, upwards of $115 a seat for the main section on a weekend night), and you can’t even get up and go to the bar for a second cocktail. There’s nothing too charming about that.
Broadway Playhouse at Water Tower Place. Book, music and lyrics by Dennis T. Giacino. Directed by Christopher Bond. With ensemble cast. Running time: 1hr 35mins; no intermission.