BRITNEY SPEARS: THE CABARET @ Brisbane Powerhouse | Review

Review by Lauren Sherritt
A cabaret show written about arguably the world’s most infamous and off the rails pop starlet, Britney Spears The Cabaret does not fail to deliver in any sense. Comic genius is coupled with unsettling and well timed truth-telling, while a masterful cabaret performance makes the show count as top notch entertainment.

Poking fun without being mean spirited, Britney Spears The Cabaret portrays Britney as a kind of manic but sweet-hearted, ditzy yet relatable character, and ultimately wins by ensuring that by the end of it all, the audience is completely head over heels for the leggy blonde.

Christie Whelan plays Britney who, along with her “court appointed pianist” Matty, tells the story of her life in the bright lights through words and song. Whelan’s voice is remarkable; strong, clear and containing just enough of Britney’s signature nasal accent to hark back to the original singer.

There is genius in the precision of Whelan’s enunciation, the lyrics of the seemingly light and airy pop songs in turns taking on hilarious, sad, sinister or strangely predictive tones. At one stage, pre-stardom eight year old Britney tackles I’m a Slave 4 U. All innocence and smiles and sashays, she hoola hoops around the stage for the pageant crowd she is performing for, while lyrics like “Baby, don’t you wanna dance up on me/Leaving behind my name, my age”, make more than a few audience members squirm.

As Britney cycles through the various stages of her career, from being “the most celebrated virgin since Mary” and her famed relationship with Justin Timberlake to losing custody of her children and being sent to rehabilitation, she accompanies each tale with the appropriate, if slightly exaggerated, songs.

The intelligence behind this fun and funny show is revealed as one by one, with detail and charm, the stories making up the life of Britney Spears as the public knows it are told. We’ve all heard them before, but somehow being told each one in sequence by this endearing Britney character engenders a huge amount of sympathy, overriding the usual response of laughter.

A cute southern girl with long blonde hair and a stellar voice is not how Britney Spears is first thought of now, instead tales of dropped babies, shonky performances and weight gain and loss crowd her reputation. While on the surface, just like many of Britney’s songs, this show doesn’t appear to be one to make you think. Once experienced, however, it has you questioning everything from the ethics of our culture’s ‘celebrity system’ to how we define good parenting.

Britney Spears The Cabaret is at once charming and disturbing – a subtly unfolding horror story with a cute-as main character and a killer soundtrack.

Review by Lauren Sherritt

When: WED 8 – SUN 12 FEB 2012
Where: Brisbane Powerhouse
More Details: Click Here for Full Show Details