Thursday, 19 February 2015

Princess Obsession - Fireflies Entertainment (17 February 2015)

If one measure of a performer is how they react when things aren’t going well then Emma Marie Davis passed a true test of fire on Tuesday night. Technical problems, excessive noise from the neighbouring tent, and a momentary lapse in recall were obstacles on the night but she retained her composure to deliver an otherwise charming and enthralling show.

I’ve come across Davis’ obsession with princesses before in Once Upon A Time. Not any old princess mind you but Disney princesses. While I have passing familiarity with the movies Snow White, Cinderella, and Sleeping Beauty, I didn’t have any knowledge of the women who provided the voices for such iconic characters. And this is where the strength of Princess Obsession truly is.

Davis takes us through the backstories of Adriana Caselotti (Snow White), Ilene Woods (Cinderella), and Mary Costa (Sleeping Beauty) – how they came to be considered for the part, their experiences during recording, and a glimpse into their subsequent careers, the most notable of which is Costa’s conversion to opera star. Walt Disney plays a huge role in shaping these productions and the women involved while there are all kinds of interesting facts about the pressure the studio was under to deliver a hit at the time of Sleeping Beauty.

There is a range of songs included in the show - from the movies themselves to operatic pieces and period standards to excerpts from popular radio and television shows of the time. Davis showcases impressive vocal range and also an array of accents as she gives us an insight into the thoughts and experiences of each princess. She is accompanied by Irina Vasilieva on keyboards who provided a lovely musical soundscape during the storytelling sequences as well as great backing for the songs.

There is no doubt that this is a subject matter Davis is passionate about and well steeped in. This is clearly evident in her joy at sharing these tales with us. A well sung and entertaining hour long cabaret that had me a little wiser about how difficult it really is to become a princess!

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