Bait Theatre is going to Kill the Princess inside us all. Tired of society selling us false fairy tale endings, it’s decided to interrogate the stories it grew up with.
Michelle Madsen and Lizzy Shakespeare have created a very diverting hour of silliness. Like a political extended kid’s game of let’s pretend, they dive into designer Finlay Forbes Gower’s dressing-up box. A gigantic parachute of a ball dress becomes the centre piece of the action, glamorous and playful but at the same time restrictive. Princesses ultimately don’t get to do much, the pair have realised, spending most of their time trapped in towers waiting for things to happen.
Madsen and Shakespeare spend more time as Grimm’s supporting characters than actual princesses. They are the swaggering macho princes, galloping around the small playing space of The SpiegelYurt on their trusty steeds – a broom and mop. They have the most fun as babbling swamp crones with a performance from Shakespeare that will surely have Disney on the phone for its inevitable live action Snow White. The audience participation is skilful and kind – the kids in the playground are eager to include everyone in the game.
Kill the Princess is exuberant, with moments of brilliance. The subverted fairy story vignettes are purposefully non-linear, but this makes for a slightly frustrating inconsistency. Madsen and Shakespeare are clearly operating on several meta levels as they blow kisses, recite spoken word and generally clown about but it’s not always clear what the moral of these stories is.