Fringe review: ‘Bitches of the Kingdom’

Bitches of the Kingdom!, the Oops Guys, New York, NY. Orange venue, 60 minutes, $10.

Brittany Berkowitz LeNoir, Michelle Knight and Lisa Sleeper in 'Bitches of the Kingdom'

By Elizabeth Maupin
Elizabeth Maupin on Theater

What can I say about Bitches of the Kingdom, the Oops Guys’ extravagantly cockeyed valentine to Disney’s princesses, that hasn’t already been said?

May I say that Dennis Giacino, who wrote the music and lyrics, and Fiely Matias, who produced and directed, have soared since they did their last Orlando Fringe six or seven years ago, and that just about everything about Bitches of the Kingdom is absolutely swell?

May I say that the actresses who play the princesses — Michelle Knight as Snow White, Brittany Berkowitz LeNoir as Cinderella, Lisa Sleeper as Sleeping Beauty, Robyn Scrivener as Belle, Lulu Picart as Mulan, Hillary Brook as the Little Mermaid, Lois Sage as Rapunzel, Tawatha Valentine as the Frog Princess and Krista Miller as a trio of princesses you’ve long since forgotten — are perfectly cast and that it’s hard to say that one of them is funnier than the next?

Or may I say that, of all the shows in this year’s Fringe, I never could have predicted that Bitches of the Kingdom would be the one that feminists (and that’s me) would love?

Giacino has hit the creative big time with this portrait of a bunch of women who didn’t get what they bargained for and are bored to death with the royal hoopla: “One more ‘once upon a time’ and I swear I’ll go insane,” Snow White sings.

And she’s not the only one. “I’m a girl from classic lit who babbles on now like a nit,” Belle complains, while Mulan worries that she’s lesbian — the only princess without a guy.

Giacino’s music is sprightly, his lyrics fit perfectly, and Matias and his cast have made spectacular sport with all of it: Each one has more nerve than the next. Some favorites: Knight as the divaesque Snow White, who vamps just as long as she wants to; LeNoir as the slightly dim, exceedingly eager-to-please Cinderella; Miller as the brassy, put-upon Secondary Princess; Picart as the deadpan, had-enough Mulan; Sleeper as the eye-rolling, “I’m-just-going-along-with-this-because-I-have-nothing-else-to-do-tonight” Sleeping Beauty; and especially Sage as a scary, Wagnerian Rapunzel, an outsize personality with an enormous voice. Most of these women work for Disney in real life, so we don’t see them much at local theaters. Now’s your chance.

And now’s your chance to catch a show that deserves a bigger life, whether it’s in New York or anywhere the celluloid Disney princesses have paved the way. My only caveat (that I couldn’t always understand the lyrics) ought to be easily remedied, and Bitches of the Kimgdom can go on to rule.

Remaining shows:
Wednesday May 25, 9:50 p.m.
Friday May 27, 9:05 p.m.
Saturday May 28, 4:20 p.m.
Monday May 30, 8:30 p.m. (Patrons’ Pick performance)

One response to “Fringe review: ‘Bitches of the Kingdom’

  1. I was absolutely thrilled with the production oF “Bitches of the Kingdom.”

    I thought the musical compositions and lyrics of Dennis Giacino’s were simply brilliant. The amazingly talented ladies brought the melodies, lyrics, and the arrangements to life with their acting and vocal skills.

    Fiely’s direction and production was excellent.

    I look forward to seeing this produced in many venues in the future with great success!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s