Have you ever wanted to be Beyoncé? Well, this 45 minute show is a light-hearted attempt to teach you to. Quite literally. There is no more to it than that.
Pens and papers lie on desks in front of audience members and our lecturers talk us through ten steps to revealing your inner Bey.
So, how’s it done and does it work?
Two young women dressed in sexy black trouser suits posture like Queen B on stage and present the show as a glorified lecture. Pens and papers lie on desks in front of audience members and our lecturers (with qualifications ‘in Beyoncé’) talk us through ten steps to revealing your inner Bey. They themselves, they reassure us, have perfected that ‘unleashing the diva/queen/mother/woman/pop icon/feminist’ thing.
"You can ALL become strong, powerful, black women like Beyoncé" they drawl citing "Fierceness", "Stage Persona" and "The Voice" as skills to master. They pose, sing phrases, instruct, all in front of a screen bullet-pointing key phrases.
There are dubious moments that don’t quite raise a laugh. For example, what’s with "If you’re white, be more black, if you’re black, be more white"? And then there’s a recounting of how feminism was a dirty word in the performers’ families – until Beyoncé defiantly declared herself "a feminist" and then all was ok. I felt sad rather than elated at this point, and am doubtful that this was the intended reaction.
On entering The Hat at The Warren my friend and I were told that we must sit at the front. I explained to the usher (not a member of Fringe staff but part of the show’s production crew) that said friend suffered from anxiety and needed to sit in any row but the front one. Surprisingly this was unacceptable to the usher, and not until I’d had a stern chat about accessibility did he concede to let us sit in the second row – and this, although the large auditorium was practically empty. By the time a long and difficult conversation (which should have been quick and easy) finished, the front row was full, and we gladly sat in the second. Let me tell you, Beyoncé would most definitely not have taken that s*&t, and I felt I’d passed a Fierceness Test with flying colours, pointedly flicking my hair and not smiling before sitting down. It’s just a shame the interchange wasn’t actually part of the show – not only would it have excused bad behaviour, but it would have lent the performance the increased audience involvement and depth that it lacks. Or maybe it needs a packed house?
I left trying to work out who would really enjoy this straight-up Beyoncé-Admiration Fest. Hmmm, a Hen Night posse might appreciate the dancing, or perhaps an outing of uber-fans (although they wouldn’t learn anything they didn’t know). But it was 4.15 on Friday afternoon, we were a diverse bunch, and we needed either more audience participation to raise the fun factor, or new Beyoncé facts to sashay away home informed. Or perhaps after a re-write, in a different space, free of rows and seats, this show would make a funny and impressive dance lesson?
Don’t Worry Be Yoncé, did at least deliver in one way for this punter… providing the perfect opportunity to release my inner Sasha Fierce, albeit just before the show began.