Is there a more iconic witch than the Wicked Witch of the West? Maybe it's Ursula the sea witch from The Little Mermaid, or maybe Joan of Arc for something a little more historical. Or maybe it's Alysha Jane? In the cabaret-comedy Witch, Please!, performer Jane takes us through a series of infamous sorceresses to determine what makes a witch, and if she is a witch.
Each figure introduced is paired with a song and it's where Jane is at her strongest, a highlight being during her inquiry into Snow White and the Evil Queen. There are instances where Jane makes observations about the films or stories she has selected that have potential to open up a treasure trove of possibilities but we sadly never go deeper with these ideas. Let's discuss why Dorothy could not be a bad witch because she isn't ugly or what the gay romance behind the creation of The Little Mermaid means and what Ursula represents.
Witch, Please! was also victim of opening night nerves, but from the technology rather than the performer. The show started ten minutes late as attempts were made to get the TV screen working, and while it was turned on it didn't work when it was needed and sadly proved to be more of a distraction than a support. The fact Jane had to shorten her show by ten minutes to ensure it finished at the scheduled time and gave the following show enough time to bump in, meant a few on-the-spot cuts were made which were handled well by her accompanist Daniele Buatti and her techie.
At the beginning of the show, Jane wonders if she is a witch, and at the end of the show, she says it's up to us to decide, but we are never given any information to help us. We may have learnt that witches can be different to one another, but Jane hasn't explained how she relates to all the witches she sings about. There are moments of good humour in Witch, Please!, and Jane has a great voice, but this production fails to put us under its spell.
Venue: The Butterfly Club, 5 Carson Place, Melbourne
Season: until 8 October | 7:00pm
Duration: 60 minutes
Tickets: $37 Full | $33 Concession
Bookings: The Butterfly Club or Melbourne Fringe Festival