There’s always two sides to every story, even fairy tales. The princess gets her prince, who gets half the kingdom, but what do the other characters get? Just a bad name. Disenchanted: A Cabaret of Twisted Fairy Tales gives a voice to the betrayed, misunderstood or ignored side-kicks, like Cinderella’s sisters, the wolf, the golden egg laying goose and captain Bluebird’s dead wives. And they can’t wait to tell their side of the story.
Eliane Morel puts her impressive operatic vocal range to good use
The delightfully devious cabaret Disenchanted is a treat for adults with a hyperactive imagination. Set in the plague stricken 17th century Paris, the cabaret is hosted by the sulky and seductive Godmother of Fairy Tales Madame d’Aulnoy, who is the real historical character we can thank for the very same term. With a little help from Monsieur Magic Mirror on the wall, Madame d’Aulnoy twists and detorts well-known fairy tales, making us laugh at their traditional power and gender relations.
Disenchanted is written and performed by Australian Mezzo Soprano Eliane Morel, who puts her impressive operatic vocal range to good use while also mastering more comedic character building. Adults will enjoy the sexy take on familiar stories and the clever way Elaine mixes modern day politics and concepts into the stories making them seem relevant and timely. Just like a clever pop artist takes an old hit and blows new life into it. The cabaret features five well-known fairy tale characters: Cinderella’s nasty sister Olga, the gold egg laying Gertie the goose, the wolf from Little Red Riding Hood, Bluebeard’s murdered wife Angelique and the Sleeping Beauty.
The inspiration for Disenchanted came from Eliane’s 9-year-old niece, who wanted the guests at a dinner party dress and perform as fairy tale characters. The concept developed into a cabaret starring usually overlooked and misrepresented fairy tale characters. Disenchanted debuted at the Sydney Fringe Festival in 2018, and was developed into a digital rendition for the Melbourne Fringe. The lockdown version uses entertaining visual techniques, like animation, overlays, painted backgrounds and singalong subtitles to enrich the performance.
The star of the show is either the crossdressing gypsy wolf from Transylvania, who has no intention to eat the grandmother but to hump her, dress as her and elope with her, or the haunting Bluebird’s murdered wife Angelique, who warns other women of her fate. Both characters give strong evidence of Eliane Morel’s strong comic skills and vocal range. And what would a 2020’s show be without its own #MeToo controversy. Isn’t it shocking that the Sleeping Beauty was kissed without her consent? Is Prince Charming really as charming as he seems? Perhaps it’s a good thing fairy tales were written in more simple times.