Katie Mulgrew’s show about Disney Princesses is exceedingly well suited to her venue, The Turret at Gilded Balloon. She’s even decorated the space with shimmery pink drapery to create what I and every other five-year-old would call a ‘princess bed’. It suits her sweetened form of stand-up to a t.
There are a few old jokes snuck in among the pop culture as well – they go down well, but with a knowing laugh from everyone.
Mulgrew’s set is very clearly – at points too clearly – structured around the Disney patented Happily Ever After. For Mulgrew, that’s her life with her husband, Lee, and the future they’ll have together. A budding mother is hinted at in her rapport with her niece, Lorelai, who is a repeated guest in the set, through anecdotes and even the odd recorded interview. It’s all rather charming and makes her edgier moments – pretty much any time she veers into talking about her Northern Irish family – that much more amusing. I’d have liked a little more of the caustic Irish Catholicism to counterbalance the cute, if I’m honest, but the show still works as a whole.
Disney as a topic is fairly accessible, although older audiences might struggle with references to the Disney Renaissance films. When she strays away from the big D, however, it’s into a patchwork of references which she admits generally work for only one or two audience members at a time. You can see the same scattergun approach in her intro, a very clever compilation of soundbites that nonetheless requires a lot of work on the part of the audience. There are a few old jokes snuck in among the pop culture as well – they go down well, but with a knowing laugh from everyone.
Mulgrew’s a very endearing presence, especially in front of a small audience; she dedicates jokes to individuals, going so far as to explain them (and then explain the explanation) to uncomprehending punters. I watched her ask an older couple in the front row to adopt her, and I think they struggled to say no. If she repeats her phrases a little too often, padding out the show, it’s a forgivable misstep. With a little more variation and a greater glimpse of her cynical side, Mulgrew will be a Belle on the ball.