Kill The Princess, is a provocative feminist performance by Bait Theatre’s Michelle Madsen and Lizzy Shakespeare. They flip gender based behaviour expectations on their head in this absurdist clown comedy performance, based loosely around fairy-tale depictions of men and women and what their roles are.
The first thing you need to know about this performance is that you will be confused by it. There’s no two ways about it. They even mention themselves, through the medium of a sentient character The Swamp Witch, that they are aware the audience are confused by their non-linear narrative. The actors perform in a hyperreal format, blending reality and fiction together, to create a commentary on the male bravado and female passivity within these fairy-tales.
Both actors play multiple characters throughout this anarchic performance, each role more outlandish than the last. They have a great chemistry together and this really helps create an environment in which their audience based improvisation can be successful. You can feel the passion in the room when they perform, this is something that they genuinely care about.
That being said, though the passion there, it doesn’t seem to translate well to an audience. There is clearly a strong base of intelligence to the writing of Kill The Princess. But a lot of the performance feels inaccessible due to it being purely random in nature. Oftentimes, there are moments where you feel completely lost in what’s happening. This means that moments of comedy, moments that have great potential to be hilarious and engaging, are lost. The piece ends up feeling like an absurdist sketch comedy piece without a succinct form to the sketches, which it desperately needs to be able to convey a message clearly.
The use of props in the piece was interesting, a very versatile parachute formed the base for the majority of the props that they used, morphing into a swamp, a dress and even a stunning image of a princess being hung towards the end of the piece; one of the most aesthetically pleasing moments you can ask for.
Though complicated, this is a piece that has a lot of meaning and is performed with great vigour. Kill The Princess is a challenging, perplexing yet thought provoking piece of theatre.
Main Image Credit: Nicole Taliotis