We have all heard the famous fairytales of Snow White and Sleeping Beauty, of how they were headed for certain doom, but were rescued by handsome princes and lived happily ever after. Everyone also knows about former First Lady Jackie Kennedy and her tumultuous marriage to John F. Kennedy. But how do these women feel about their situations? What was the aftermath of their tales? Princess Dramas attempts to answer this in a quirky and humorous, yet rambling, three part play.
The first tale dissected in Princess Dramas is Snow White, depicting her as a spoilt brat adjusting to life after her adventures with the seven dwarfs. In Sleeping Beauty, the princess has to spend her life with the egotistical and randy prince who kissed her back to life. The third tale has Jackie Kennedy talking about her husband’s philandering and the public’s perception of her as the First Lady.
Princess Dramas’ ideas are clever and had potential, but far from lives up to them. The “stories” are mostly just incoherent ramblings about nothing! Snow White is definitely the most interesting and (somewhat) coherent story. Sleeping Beauty also had great ideas, but did not live up to its potential. However, Jackie is just a painful mess that loses the plot just as fast as viewers lose their minds trying to comprehend what is going on! (How does her story count as a princess story anyway?)
The acting is definitely the highlight of the play. Dion Mills is hilarious as both the catty Snow White and the pompous prince. Andrea Swifte’s characters are amusing too, though Melodie Reynolds’ turn as Jackie is overshadowed by that story’s daftness. The stage is tiny, but successfully transforms into the various locations the stories are set in. The costumes are very wacky, especially with Snow White’s dress having swastikas knitted into it, and the hunter in Snow White looks like a cross between a 1700s-era aristocrat and Boy George in his 1980s heyday.
Though it has its funny moments, Princess Dramas is mostly a convoluted play that unfortunately goes over the audience’s heads faster than the hands on their watches do.
Princess Dramas is playing at the Red Stitch Actors Theatre, Rear 2 Chapel Street, St Kilda, from Friday 10 June 2011 until Saturday 2 July 2011 (excluding Monday and Tuesday).
Cast: Dion Mills, Andrea Swifte, Melodie Reynolds
Director: Andre Bastian
Playwright: Elfriede Jelinek
Originally published at meapcareers.com.au on Tuesday 14 June 2011