Stages

Not Entirely Enchanted by Broadway in Chicago’s Disenchanted

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What happens after the fairytale ends and the slender beauty runs off with the prince she met moments before the wedding? Naturally, it’s worse than what the magic mirror predicted.  The Broadway Playhouse at Water Tower Place is now featuring Disenchanted, a raunchy satirical musical showcasing all of our favorite storybook royals. Giacino’s musical brings to life the complaints of disgruntled princesses fed up with being drawn into busty frames and barely-there silhouettes. Snow White (Merrit Crews) and her two off-beat companions, Cinderella  (Madison Hayes-Crook) and Sleeping Beauty (Daniella Richards), lead the rest of the royal crew as they set their stories straight once and for all.  

Disenchanted is acted out cabaret style and it does a really spirited and lively impression of nightclub entertainment. The musical shifts between tell-all solos and thought-provoking numbers that highlight the “Princess Complex” being taught by modern-day films. Seeing Ariel as a recovering drunk and Belle as a semi-schizophrenic housewife who talks to kitchenware was a bit of a sobering experience, but nonetheless a comical one.  A slew of princesses venting about their never-ending (yet never-satisfied) desire to eat was definitely a highlight, especially with Ariel’s (Miriam Drysdale) ranting and intricate plan to eat her marine best friend. The  script constantly reminds you that no child should  be attending this performance, particularly after listening to a rousing rendition about  sex-deprived men drawing large breasts on proportionately sized princesses.

This bawdy cast is topped off with singing skills that visibly wowed the crowd. Among many, Crews manages to hit both soulful notes as well as the melodic tunes we all associate with woodland creature serenades. Unfortunately, as much as I was impressed with the vocals, the acting wasn’t always convincing. It was clear that the princesses dropped out of character at times, which made for a cast of very talented women falling a bit short of their performance ability. The set design didn’t help portray these princesses in the best light either with a barren set leaving too much to the imagination. It felt clear to me that even when the vocals made up for the acting, the rough transition from one scene to the next resulted in many poignant scenes losing their effect.

The performance delivered on its promise of moments of  laughter and sassy feel-good anthems, but I didn’t walk away with those post-show butterflies. Although to me certain scenes were almost too crude to be empowering for women, it was overall an enjoyable night out. If you’re in the mood to get a couple laughs and see some feisty princesses with amazing pipes, pumpkin-chariot ride over to the Broadway Playhouse and enjoy the show!

Disenchanted is at the Broadway Playhouse at Water Tower Place through June 5. Tickets range from $35- $75.

Categories: Stages, Theater

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