Feminism is one of those words that either draws people in or pushes them away. In our modern world, people are becoming increasingly passionate about the feminist movement, but there is also a lot of negative connotation that surrounds it. Millicent Sarre recognises both of these sides to this complex concept, and has written, performed, and produced her first original cabaret Friendly Feminism for the Mild-Mannered with them in mind, targeting her fellow feminists as an audience, while simultaneously trying to recruit cynics by breaking down the bad rap feminism gets, through an affable, amusing, moving, and musical approach.
Sarre, who is no stranger to the stage, has used her years of experience in performing other’s work as inspiration to create and compose her own truly stunning show, which reflects on hard-hitting topics that fall under the broad umbrella of feminism. From consent and rape culture, to mansplaining, from the female experience, to toxic masculinity, so many important and immense issues are covered in sixty minutes of song that you are left almost overwhelmed. But to balance this heavy content, Sarre throws in some perfectly-timed light-hearted moments, from some witty jokes in her dialogue, to audience participation in the form of a fun sing-a-long, making for an educational and entertaining experience.
Sarre’s pop ditties and ballads are very well-written lyrically and musically, and as all good pop songs should be, are so damn catchy - I’m personally still singing them days after seeing the show. Sarre even throws in some extremely impressive “white girl” rap, and a cleverly reworded cover of a early noughties anthem to really cater to a broad audience. Each number showcases Sarre’s mind-blowing vocal range and technique, and is performed practically perfectly by Sarre and her best friend/backing vocalist/beat-boxer Jemma Allen, whose onstage presence and tone blends with Sarre’s in a heavenly way. This was complimented by co-producer and tech operator Maddy Blenkinskop’s masterful mixing of the show’s sound. Blenkinskop should also be commended on her lighting design, which was very appropriate to the mood of each tune.
Friendly Feminism for the Mild Mannered is humorous, intelligent, thought-provoking, and emotional; the latter due to Sarre candidly sharing her own #MeToo experience, bravely working through her trauma in a public space. Sarre’s passion for and knowledge of feminism shines through from beginning to end, and is truly infectious - the audience leave feeling impassioned and informed. It is a timely show debuting during “the golden age of women’s rights” and is so important for EVERYONE to see, regardless of whether you consider yourself a feminist or not. And it’s simple grassroots cabaret at its best - where its not about the flashy venue (though the stripped-back nature of Union Hall reflects the stripped-back nature of the material) or showmanship (though Sarre’s energy and rapport with her audience is that of a well-versed veteran), but about the music and the message behind it. Its simply not to be missed, but I also have no doubt based on the standing ovation of opening night, that this season is not the last we will see of the show, or of Millicent Sarre. So “be an ally” - buy your tickets before the run ends for the Adelaide Cabaret Fringe Festival, and “put on your khaki - we’ve got a patriarchy to smash!”
Friendly Feminism for the Mild Mannered runs until the 21st of June for two more shows at Union Hall. For further information and tickets, click here.
Thumbnail image via TryBooking website.