“I use to be Snow White, but I drifted” – Mae West
Every little girl (and some boys) wants to grow up to be a princess. And who can blame them? Princesses are awesome, and they’re everywhere. They’re in our films, notably Disney. They’re on our TVs; didn’t Kate look wonderful in that Vera Wang dress (although the less we talk about that awful reality show I Wanna Marry “Harry” the better). They’re in the stories we read them at night. Every girl is “daddy’s princess”, though if you’re in your mid-twenties like Isabella Valette that can take on an entirely different, less magical meaning…
Over the course of an hour, Isabella explores through anecdotes and song what it means to be a modern day princess, locked up in your Toorak tower. An extra layer of hilarity was added to the opening night as her Mum, Dad, and Step-Mum were in the audience, giving a nervous energy to some of her more… revealing personal stories (“Princesses are Virginal”). There’s some hilarious (to probably everyone else) audience participation, so if you’re not that kind of watcher, avoid the front row (I fall into that trap every. Single. Time).
The song covers are extensive in their range; everything from beat poetry, to One Direction, to Lorde are given a creative re-imagining and address issues such as fighting aging and unrealistic beauty standards. Directed by Fiona Scott Norman, both definitely bring a feminist voice to an area that many have often accused of playing to male fantasy; the idea of the “damsel in distress” who needs to be rescued by a prince is delightfully turned on its head, and it’s the princesses who are really calling the shots.
Isabella is a charming, light-hearted, quick-witted performer, and I, for one, certainly hope she finds her Prince Charming. But in the meantime, this is definitely a show to see.
Isabella Valette in Princesstuous is at the Butterfly Club at 5:30pm Tuesday – Sunday until April 10. Prices $28 – $32, discount for Members and Groups of 6+.