Review: Spicy, spirited, hilarious ‘Disenchanted’ takes aim at the Disney princess archetype — how else? — through song

By Betsie Freeman / World-Herald staff writer Aug 11, 2016

Spicy, spirited, hilarious ‘Disenchanted’ takes aim at the archetype — how else? — through song

If it weren’t for some adult content, I would recommend that kids — especially little girls — get their information about “princesses” from “Disenchanted” rather than Disney.

The mega-studio would have you believe that classic fairy-tale heroines dance with teacups and wear double-D bras, and that an authentic figure such as Pocahontas flaunts a miniskirt and has no higher goal than to kiss John Smith.

The Candy Project’s “Disenchanted” disavows those Hollywood notions with hilarity. The Omaha theater company that stages a musical each summer opened the show Friday at Flixx Cabaret Show Bar near 10th and Pacific Streets.

The show by Dennis T. Giacino is a series of songs from characters such as Rapunzel, The Little Mermaid and Belle, loosely tied together by the three first-tier princesses: Snow White (Melanie Walters), Cinderella (Alissa Walker) and Sleeping Beauty (Katy Boone). The premise is that all these women want the public to know what’s really going on underneath their tiaras.

Walters, Walker and Boone are a great trio — they keep the show moving and really play well off one another with some recurring themes. Snow is clearly the leader, Cindy’s blonde and a bit flighty, and childlike Beauty just wants to take a nap.

“We’ve got a bone to pick with our buddy Walt,” they sing as they lament their common denominator: a princess complex.

Two women named Samantha are the show’s comic standouts. As Belle from “Beauty and the Beast,” Samantha Shatley wanders onstage wearing a straitjacket, with lipstick and mascara streaked across her face. She gets increasingly unglued as she tells us that talking clocks and dancing silverware are driving her insane.

And Samantha Quintana earned screams of laughter in two bits: She’s a boozy and floozy Little Mermaid who’s sorry she gave up her undersea life for “Two Legs” and a disappointing guy, and a stern Brunhilde-like Rapunzel (with a giant unibrow) who’s mad because she’s received “Not One Red Cent” from the sales of princess merchandise, from sweatpants to diapers.

“Disney has pimped me out,” she roars.

That number also has a great audience participation element — watch for it.

It’s not all laughs, however. As Pocahontas, Alma Ramos sings the mournful and yearning “Honestly,” angry about how the cartoon film distorted her legacy: “Why can’t my life be told honestly?” Ramos has an appealing quality and a lovely, if somewhat small, voice.

Aguel Lual is powerful as the first black Disney princess, and Whitney Hansen and Therese Rennels deserve mention for their respective turns as Mulan, who thinks she might be a lesbian, and Princess Badroulbadour (aka Jasmine from “Aladdin”), who says she is the secondary princess.

The revue doesn’t have a set outside of multicolored banners on the back wall, and the costumes are functional but not memorable, except for Rapunzel’s Valkyrie hair and Jasmine’s get-up (watch for that, too). The fairly cramped bar also has its limitations, though directors Kaitlyn McClincy and Noah Diaz used every inch to their advantage. A runway with seating on each side leads up to the small stage, and characters enter and exit both there and from the serving area.

There’s no reserved seating (suffice it to say that I should have arrived earlier). But even though I didn’t have a very good vantage point, my worries that I wouldn’t be able to see were unfounded.

The adult content I mentioned is a couple of F-bombs, a few other vulgarities and some racy themes. But come to think of it, with some pre-teaching, I might consider taking older kids to “Disenchanted.”

Its subversive, sassy and savvy viewpoint is one worth sharing.

Disenchanted

What: Stage musical by The Candy Project

When: 7:30 p.m. Friday through Sunday and Aug. 18 through 21

Where: Flixx Cabaret Show Bar, 1019 S. 10th St.

Tickets: $18 adults, $15 students and Theatre Arts Guild members

Information: info@thecandyproject.com or 402-957-2827

Contact the writer: 402-444-1267, elizabeth.freeman@owh.com

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