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Review: Britney Spears – The Cabaret

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The last Britney Spears caberet show I attended was one I put on myself, age 9, with a toilet roll microphone in front of a sheet curtain. This was back when the worst thing you could say about Britney was that she was a bit of a goody-two-shoes.

Jump forward fifteen years, and I am in the audience at Chapel Off Chapel watching Christie Whelan-Browne’s take on the Britney cabaret. Britney is now in her thirties with a real mic, a pianist, short black cocktail dress, hula hoop, bottle of gin, two divorces, sex scandals, rehab cred and an ego the size of a stage show. At least Whelan-Browne’s Britney has kicked the lip-syncing habit.

For someone such as myself, who grew up on Britney before crushing her memory beneath my teenage self pride, this show should have been perfect. Whelan-Browne sings unplugged Spears songs with a conviction and energy far beyond any real Spears show you are ever likely to find on YouTube. Then between the songs, Whelan-Browne’s Britney tells her life story as if every blonde person in every blonde joke ever told was actually Britney Spears. She goes so far into caricature that it doesn’t seem unreasonable for her not to notice the audience’s laughter.

The problem is that for anyone with the slightest knowledge of Britney’s front-page scandals, or who like their humour more complex than an hour-long comedy sketch character, the jokes quickly become obvious and the lambasting cruel. If you are ok with that, then this is the show for you. As for me, I kept waiting for the singing.

Written By: Scott Woodard, August 2014 

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