“Let your privilege shine!”
If you want to engage in a shame spiral which is both mortifyingly familiar and naughtily hilarious, '#FirstWorldWhiteGirls
' is a show for you.
Tiffany and Kendall are fame-seeking, Kardashian-worshipping products of our social media age. You will recognise yourself in them, and you will be horrified. It is a two-woman show, and the actors commit to their disgustingly vapid creations fully. The cabaret style works perfectly to ram the bitchy plastic-Barbie charade home. Full props to Judy Hainsworth, who not only plays Tiffany but who also wrote all lyrics and music. She is an evil genius.
The girls invite the audience into their world through stories and song, with topics ranging from the need to adopt “little black babies” to co-ordinate with their Mercedes, labiaplasty and of course, the Kardashians. The songs are wonderful and the writing and the harmonies are cutting and catchy. Some audience members were even dancing in their seats… until they listened more closely to the lyrics (black babies being fed bananas, anyone?) and suddenly stilled.
There was some shocking humour. Aside from comparing children to monkeys, there were jokes about Auschwitz being great for the figure, and Lamar Odom’s coma. The audience audibly gasped; hands flew to cover mouths in 'did they really just say that?' moments. It was absolutely un-PC, and some may have felt very guilty laughing along. A rap song complete with African-American slang and accents spewing forth from the mouths of these twerking yuppy princesses brought to mind current debates on cultural appropriation; Iggy Azalea and Miley.
But that was the point.
The comedy worked well on two levels. At the beginning of the night, the girls asked the audience to call out to every statement relating to them. Know the difference between macarons and macaroons? So did the vast majority of the audience. Attend a (“real”) private school? Yup, the audience too etc etc..
The privilege of attendees was reinforced when the girls read out audience examples of their own first world problems. Issues such as “I can’t park either of my cars in our two car garage because that’s where I keep all my clothes” caused laughter, but also a good 75 per cent of the audience to cringe over their white wines.
So there were elements of white privilege that the – pretty exclusively white – audience could relate to. Then there were the references to a Kardashian-esque lifestyle that not many in Brisbane could claim to be a part of, but most would recognise as holding cultural cachet in today’s world.
The aim of '#FirstWorldWhiteGirls' was to hold up a mirror, and cause the audience to truly reflect on our values. It was disturbing, and for a cabaret show about aspiring to star in reality TV, all a little too real.