It may be only January but Rich Watkins’ Disney musical parody about a gay Prince in a kingdom of eligible Princesses might be one of my shows of the year. In this long, dark and depressing month Watkin’s one man tour de force is just the tonic to cure the winter blues.
Poor Prince Henry (Watkins), heir to a fairytale kingdom just doesn’t like girls and longs to be ‘Part of that (gay) scene’ (yes, sung to The Little Mermaid’s ‘Part Of Your World’), along with reimagined songs One Day My Prince Will Cum”, “High Ho”, “O, I’ve Just Come Out To The King” and “Let It Show”. When his Fairy Godfather grants him a chance to explore London’s gay sex scene, fuelled by drugs and apps, Henry struggles to find true love because as Rupaul says “If you can’t love yourself. How in the hell you gonna love somebody else”
Full of innuendo and sometimes explicit crudeness Watkins’ show includes singing, puppetry and the most incredible boots I have ever seen (and that is before you see Watkins walk, run and slut drop in them). It is rare I am drawn to a performer but Watkins oozes charisma, with great comic timing and audience interaction (but not too much, this is Watkins’ solo show). There is a slightly shambolic approach; costumes go wrong for example but this is all part of the experience. This is a perfect late night show that is unashamedly camp and fun, whether you gay, straight or anything inbetween with a serious message about access to PrEP, through a song to the tune of A Whole New World (Watkins was diagnosed with HIV in 2016) and the hetero-normative society that can make young queer people feel alienated. Is Disney’s message that boys go with girls the right message to someone feeling same sex attraction. Absolutely not but it has lead to this fantastic show. Watkins is one to watch; in those heels a future as Frank N Furter awaits and based on this show he could probably do a one man Rocky Horror Show to great acclaim.
If you get a chance to see this incredible late night look at gay culture soundtracked by Disney songs before the Disney estate sue don’t hesistate to go. Watkins is a great young talent who had the audience eating out of his hand.
Happily Ever Poofter is on until 8 February 2020 https://www.kingsheadtheatre.com/whats-on/happily-ever-poofter/book