Mirror, mirror on the wall – please tell me why each fairy-tale character is barely recognisable in this play?
If I had a magic mirror, that would have been my primary wish whilst watching Honeypot. In this play, the fairy-tale princesses from our childhood are living in 2019 and facing modern day struggles. We meet a sugar snorting Rapunzel in a psychiatric ward, Belle with a fetish for bestiality porn at a car crash and many more scenes like this.
Honeypot has the feel of an improv game where the actors are given a setting, an issue and a scene partner and have to go along with it. There was no shortage of energy from the performers and the conversations blitz through a diverse array of topics. But disappointingly there was little meaningful character development and a weak connection with the princesses that are meant to be portrayed.
Take for example Tinkerbell with red wings, a short red dress and high heels. She is a self-made billionaire and in a direct monologue with the audience, she promotes plastic surgery and lip kits. But what you have is not a character living inside the head of the Tinkerbell that we know and love from Peter Pan but a Kylie Jenner impersonator.
Mirror, mirror on the wall – tell me who some of the princesses in this play are meant to be because I’m starting to feel lost.
Whilst I’ve got a magic mirror, I might as well ask this too. I was often left clueless at which character was meant to be portrayed, up until the moments where the characters’ names are slipped into the conversation. There was a woman with body dysmorphia who experimented with being a lesbian. I think it was meant to be Mulan? I ask another theatregoer as we leave the theatre, they didn’t seem to know either.
Mirror, mirror on the wall – finally tell me why does it seem like all the princesses do in the modern day is complain?
The princesses weren’t short of something to say; the play covers a range of topics in rapid succession including female genital mutilation, societal pressure to become mothers, abortion rights, transphobia, insomnia, gender inequality, income equality, maritial affairs and more. But instead of creating a meaningful dialogue around these pertinent topics, the characters performed by an all-female cast are often seen to be complaining. Of course it’s fine to be outraged by something. But if this is the only note that is sustained throughout the 60 minute show, it can become tedious quite quickly.
When Wendy goes on an all out critique of Tinkerbell’s self-obssessed ways, she stumbles across some interesting ideas relating to how stretch marks are organic emblems of protest. But next thing you know she’s in a boxing match and we’ve swiftly moved on to the next scene.
In my list of productions to see at the Fringe this year, Honeypot stood out based on the marketing alone. I was intrigued by its image where a girl seems to be crying honey. Now having seen the play, I couldn’t tell you what the connection between the play and the image was.
Fairly-tale characters are an interesting topic to revisit as we grow old and realise that there aren’t any princes to carry princesses away. This is territory that has been tread before and can be entertaining if executed right. One of my favourite musicals is ‘Into the Woods’ where these fairy-tale characters interact and don’t live happily ever after. I’m sure if this show was narrower in focus and gave more depth for a given princess, an interesting story may have been revealed. But unfortunately, this Honeypot felt bare.
Honeypot is running at the Greenside @ Nicolson Square from 4 – 10 August at the time of writing.