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Dizney In Drag: Once Upon A Parody - Underbelly London Review

Reviewed by Alice Clayton
Tickets were gifted in return for an honest review

The Perth based company; The Hairy Godmother's Inc. brings to the world this re-telling of well-loved and well remembered Disney films (or at least, bits and pieces of them). It claimed it was a parody, but in truth, it was a good ol' panto.

Photo by Antony Edwards

We are guided through a world of magic and adventure as the Hairy Godmother herself helps Hero search for his one true love - the wearer of the glitter stiletto - and whilst we follow them, we meet a whole host of familiar characters along the way.

You'd need to be living under a rock to never have seen a Disney film, or indeed these days, a Disney West End Musical.

From the get-go, we see a sequined slant on iconic costumes and are told to 'Be (Their) Guest'. Hoping for nostalgia and the flooding of good memories from watching these classics I remember as a child, I was, in truth, left disappointed. A few obvious song choices were made with the lyrics customised for fun, and a few odd choices which fell a little flat. At one point, there was the possibility of Frozen's 'Let It Go' to the woos of the crowd, but we were upbruptly told it was only old Disney baddies here. (In truth, we never really leave the 1990s).

Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, The Little Mermaid (yes I am aware this is 1989!) and Mulan were the main contenders. Aside from some awkwardly scanning lyrics and some pretty average voices, I'd have liked a bit more of the truly classic Disney. Maybe by 'old', they meant the actual characters chosen, the oldest being the original princess, Snow White.

I'd like to have been able to mention people by names but unfortunately I can't, as the box office informed me that the programs hadn't arrived.

Snow White, for me, despite looking divine in appearance, looked a little embarrassed at times in nature. She grew in confidence as it went on, but the truth is, I've seen better Drag Acts.

The Hairy Godmother was played with confidence, but most of this confidence was self-indulgent with frequent planned corpsing.

Photo by Emma Basc
Over the years, the UK has been spoilt by truly excellent Drag performers alike Lily Savage, Dame Edna Everage, Danny Le Rue...the team here just didn't match those with their obvious jokes and cliche innuendos.

At times, the show did work. The actress playing Gaston (Strap-on), also performed the highlight of the show as Tinkerbell singing Pocahontas' "Paint With All The Colours Of The Minge". Yep, another 90s song. But she had an excellent voice, a great energy and commanded the stage in every way.

Hero, the panto's principal boy, (sorry, this isn't a panto - but oh yes it is!) was also good. The facilitator of a play is never the easiest role, but she did it well and was very watchable. The audience was on her side despite her lack of singing ability. This was a real shame when performing the duet 'A Whole New World', however.

The show was, as expected, full of sex toys, swearing and other adult content to shock, but this isn't a show that just tells rude jokes, it uses what is a very old fashioned and classic art form to speak about subjects that are very relevant. What is masculinity? Gender identity. Being who you want to be, and the (still, absurdly) taboo subject of menstruation. One man was particularly uncomfortable with the 'used' sanitary towel being flung his way...!

In terms of the way the space was used, my main concern was sightlines. The chaise longue was used frequently but meant from about row 4, a lot was lost visually.

The show does discuss subject matters that are important, and in the main, it was harmless and fun. For me, it just needed tidying with some fresher humour, slicker choreography, and stronger vocals. If you've seen a good old British panto or a decent drag performer, you will have seen and heard all of the jokes here.


Dizney In Drag: Once Upon A Parody plays at London’s Underbelly Festival until Sunday 14th July. Tickets are available from

Photo by Emma Basc

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