Ignorance is cabaret bliss
By Myron My
It’s been two years since Melbourne was graced with the presence of Tiffany and Kendall, two affluent white girls who have some major problems to deal with. Problems like 2-in-1 shampoo, and being invited out but having to decline because their phones are still charging. Inspired by the hashtag #FirstWorldProblems, Judy Hainsworth and Kaitlin Oliver Parker are back with their comedy cabaret #FirstWorldWhiteGirls.
This trust fund princess and day-drinking trophy wife express the difficulties they regularly encounter through a number of entertaining original songs, each one showing not only their ignorance of the world but also the extremities of their privilege. Frighteningly enough, there are times when the things they say easily remind us of someone we know, or even ourselves. When they announce to the audience that “we are you”, they could in fact be correct, regardless of sex, race or gender.
The musical numbers bring forth some brilliant performances with clever lyrics that deservedly receive many laughs. The highlights of the evening though belong to a song about the most recent trend in cosmetic surgery (to tell you would ruin half the fun) and Tiffany’s “love song” to a suitor begging him to please not ask her out. The heart-rending ballad on FOMO is also a great moment that shows just how important these seemingly trivial problems can be for some people.
It’s between the songs however where some jokes falter and punchlines are either predictable or not as strong as what they could be. At one point, we are told that you can never go too far for the perfect body, but if this maxim applies in terms of their humour, the envelope is severely pushed with Hainsworth and Parker making some ordinarily questionable jokes around World War 2 and the adoption of children of colour. However, as these type of offensively ignorant thoughts and observations are in line with how Tiffany and Kendall live their lives, they actually succeed in pointing out exactly how out of touch with reality these girls are.
Hainsworth and Parker have been performing as Tiffany and Kendall for a number of years now, and often there is a sense of familiarity evident, that comes with getting to know a character you have created over time. Unfortunately on the evening I attended, I could not see this on stage and was personally left wanting a stronger fusion between performer and character. Despite this, there is still a good dose of laughs and enjoyment in #FirstWorldWhiteGirls that reminds us just how lucky we actually are.