Kings Head Theatre, Islington, London, 29/01/2020
If you’ve ever wanted to watch a Disney musical with sexually explicit lyrics that’s all about one unhappy Prince’s attempts to find himself in the world, and find a man who will love him, then you are Happily Ever Poofter’s writer and star Rich Watkins’ ideal audience member. And you’re also in for an absolute treat as this very funny and often surprisingly sweet, mostly affectionate homage to Disney films is an exceedingly enjoyable show.
Taking to the stage as Prince Henry, we discover that he’s “The Only Gay In The Kingdom”, and while he’s tried dating Snow White and Cinderella they’re just not for him, and now it feels like everyone is happily loved up he’s alone and rather miserable. There is a solution to his woes however, as after a very quick costume change we meet Henry’s Fairy Godfather (he’s like Aladdin, except if you rub him he’ll cum in your face), who tells him all about another world that he’ll absolutely love.
Which is why Prince Henry is suddenly transported to our world, and specifically to Soho, where he discovers the joy of having a fuck load of great sex, but also the importance of the gay community. It’s not just a love story though, the tale is more complicated than that as Prince Henry can’t find anyone suitable, and when he might have done so he panics and runs away, and it also touches on other aspects of his experiences like drugs, STI’s, and in a sharp dig at the people currently running Disney, the importance of writing your own narrative in life rather than following that of others.
It’s a show which is packed with innuendo, and full on crudeness for that matter, but it’s a smart, appealing script that is extremely playful and funny throughout. It does initially (and deliberately) have a slight pantomime-esque feeling as Prince Henry gets the audience to recount a magical spell, and cheer and boo in a couple of places, but it’s a far deeper and intelligent look at life than any other pantomime that I’ve ever seen, and it grows more thoughtful during the second half albeit without ever forgetting that it wants to make you laugh too.
The best parts are the songs however, of which they are a pleasingly a great deal. A mixture of parody, homage and pastiche, all are beautifully written and packed with a fantastic number of funny moments, including “High Ho”, “One Day My Prince Will Cum”, “O, I’ve Just Come Out To The King”, while best of all is the final showstopper “Let It Show”. They may not always be subtle, but they definitely are hilarious, and a joy to listen to.
Watkins gives it his all in the show and though his singing voice might not be up there with the best Disney has to offer it is packed with emotion and nuance, and he carries off the whole thing with aplomb. It comes complete with an important message too, one which everyone would benefit from living by, and though it’s going on tour in Australia next month hopefully it will return to London in the future as it’s an engaging, endearing and vivacious show which deserves to run and run.
Happily Ever Poofter’s Official Site.