Melody Mangler has a very dirty mind. I wouldn’t have her any other way. I pride myself on my ability to skew every childhood memory one may have but she has taken that to a whole new level with her latest endeavour and my hat is off to her.
Mangler, the writer (artistic director and choreographer), along with Director, Diva Mercedes Gould, has brought The Screaming Chicken Theatrical Society back to the stage at The Waterfront Theatre for “Oliver Fannie”.
The programme promises, “an around the world spectacular focusing on the salacious adventures of a spirited young woman trying to seek her fortune in life,” but it is so much more. Not only is it a gloriously raunchy retelling of Broadway hits, “Oliver” and “Annie”, but it also delves into De Sade’s Justine and, to this viewer, Voltaire’s Candide.
A huge undertaking, with 14 musical numbers, the production uses the original music from “Oliver” and “Annie” but supplies decidedly different lyrics. Numbers such as “Boobs Glorious Boobs” and “It’s a Hard Cock Life” are wonderfully staged and set up the line, “Please sir, I’d like some more,” for a well deserved laugh.
The title character is brought to life, in all her innocent smuttiness, by Karly Palmer, a very small lady with a very big presence. If De Sade and Voltaire’s title characters had a love child, she would be Oliver Fannie. There is a little bit of all of us in Fannie, trust me. Palmer’s adorable face, impish smile, and unquenchable enthusiasm endear us to her character instantly.
After escaping from her loving, but aloof, father (Sex Luthor) and her deliciously sour and repressed mother (Connie Cahoots), Fannie makes her way through a world of international intrigue and adventure. And sex. A lot of sex.
She is shadowed constantly by her “dog-boy companion”, Tickle Licks, played by Tranny Zukko. Zukko was born to play this “dog”. In all his Dirty Glam Glory, Zukko is a hilarious exclamation point to almost every line that falls from Palmer’s lips.
The supporting cast and chorus were also incredible. They were a reminder that the term “amateur theatre” is a comment on the pay, not the talent. There were a couple of opening night hiccups, both technical and human but, after stage managing more than a couple plays myself, I know they are to be expected. It was a joy to watch. The pirate ship may have been a bit of an anachronism but, seriously, who doesn’t like a musical number with sex-starved jack tars?
All satire is political in one way or another and “Oliver Fannie” is no different in that regard. In a time when our personal freedoms and lifestyle choices seem to be everyone’s business but our own, the underlying themes of freedom and expression found in “Oliver Fannie” can’t come at a better time. In with the laughs, the songs, and the choreography, there is a reminder that what consenting adults do with their lives is their own damn business and Palmer’s final monologue drives that point home with a smile and a bullet.
The show, which runs until September 1st at The Waterfront Theatre, is for consenting adults (19+) only and is not to be missed.
Buy your tickets HERE