This feminist cabaret is a force to be reckoned with. One minute it is gently caressing you with soft ballads, the next it is sucker punching you in the stomach with white-girl rap. Equal parts funny and serious, Millicent Sarre’s entertaining, musical approach to feminism blends witty one-liners and pop songs with personal anecdotes and statistics. Covering a wide dissection of feminist issues, Sarre includes songs on toxic masculinity, consent, and sexual assault. Working through her own trauma in an emotionally raw ballad, Sarre also discusses the #metoo movement and the important role the arts has in telling stories and changing the narrative. Her passion is as infectious as the latest COVID strain in the UK.
Sarre, who is clearly at home on the stage, goes as far as to demonstrate the importance of consent by emphasising that audience participation is optional and that everyone should feel comfortable. While the first half lacks the personal narrative that makes the second half so spectacular, this is likely intentional. The show’s structure eases the audience into potentially triggering topics by first finding humour in less-serious encounters. The threads introduced in these opening numbers also come together in a thought-provoking final song that will have you laughing so hard, you’ll walk away with strained abdominal muscles.
Making her show truly inclusive, Sarre acknowledges her own privilege and consistently reminds the audience of how much harder these issues are to navigate for women of colour, those identifying as LQBTQI, and for women with disabilities.
Friendly Feminism for the Mildly Mannered is a great introduction to feminist issues, though there are moments where it feels somewhat instructional and didactical. While the first half is humorous and witty, is it the final 30 minutes of this FRINGE WORLD show that deserves to be up in lights and roped off in a museum. Instead, you are in the first row of an intimate room, singing along, and taking videos on your phone. This show is a rare opportunity to laugh at the feminist issues that often make us feel unsafe, overworked and underpaid.