Booty and the Biatch at the LostCultureTheatre
Booty and the Biatch is the latest pantomime from Excess All Areas. It’s an irreverent and profane parody of Beauty and the Beast (the classic fairy tale, not Disney’s film. Honest). Over nearly three hours, it set about deconstructing whatever it possibly could, but it was clear that most of the criticism about the story, and theatre in general, came from a place of love – the kind of geeky appreciation levelled by someone who just wishes the subject could be better.
The lack of set, few props and notorious costuming were forgiven by the lampooning of am-dram, using the same kind of angle a self-deprecating comedian has – you can’t use flaws as criticisms if they’re already part of the joke.
At times, the show was self-indulgent to the point of cliché: the prelude (or pre-prologue, as dubbed by Excess) was all about the troupe’s previous exploits and, specifically, venue. It included an entire re-wording of Frozen’s Let It Go as homage to the lost beloved space. While many of the audience were old hands, it felt like the rest of us were left behind.
The show soon made up for that elsewhere, however. Its best moments came in the form of both cultural and political satire – a certain leader of a political party was hit pretty hard, as was Christina Aguilera, for some reason or another. The audience were drawn into the unmistakeable chemistry between the cast by wonderfully relaxed performances and gleeful ad-libbing. Then there were moments when the audience had just got comfortable, before the cast deliberately showed their skills. While this legitimised the parody somewhat, more than once the vocal tuning was off, and not when it was meant to be.
Drinking was encouraged and heckles (far beyond the usual panto fare) were often welcomed, and the entire affair felt more like a big party. Booty and the Biatch is a show by an undoubtedly talented bunch, who revel in their relative lack of budget. It’s well worth your time if you regret the fact that there’s no decent satire on TV any more.
Booty and the Biatch is on at Lost Theatre until 17th December 2014, for further information or to book visit here.