Who: Squeaky Wheel Production
What: Fairytale Femdom
Where: Theatre Aquarius Studio (190 King William Street)
When: July 18-28, various dates & times (as part of the Hamilton Fringe Festival)
Goldilocks and the Three Bears is one of the first and only fairytale references explicitly made by Caitlin Robson’s Mistress Winter in Fairytale Femdom. Using the analogy of looking for a relationship that is “just right,” the production is a quest of Robson’s search as she maintains her day job as a professional dominatrix. In the show’s opening monologue, she emphasizes that this production is a work in progress, and this review is written with that note in mind.
While the premise of the story is solid and intriguing, the current structure lacks focus. Robson varies between stories of her personal and professional life, but was easily distracted by an excited audience and needed to revisit details or note that plot elements mentioned in passing would be revealed at a later time in the story. Some were; others, like handing out rubber gloves to the audience and insisting they be worn throughout the show, did not. The subject of the play and the playfulness of Robson encouraged audience participation and comments, and while she bantered well with eager audience members, there was difficulty in maintaining control, which clashed with the persona presented of a dominatrix.
The story’s emotional arc seemed to climax very quickly and in a rushed fashion. Robson romanticizes her past romantic relationships and spends a comparatively large amount of time emphasizing the positives of such. When one of these anecdotes takes an unexpected twist, Robson’s demeanor completely changes- the result of either raw emotion or an award-winning performance. Either way, this dramatic change was beautifully presented but was a stark contrast to the playful and confident character that had been familiar to the audience to that point. This occurred so near to the ending, that it was never resolved, and the performance ended in a way that felt hurried, awkward and incomplete.
As noted at the beginning of both the show and this article, Fairytale Femdom is clearly a work in progress. Robson requests feedback from the audience and has a fun and unique way to encourage comments at the end of the production. At its heart, there is a solid concept and some incredible moments of acting, but the story and script need to be flushed out.
Robson returns to fairytale references near the end by reminding the audience of the original ending of Hans Christian Anderson’s The Little Mermaid, where the Little Mermaid is unable to win the love of the prince and instead, turns to seafoam and becomes part of the ocean- something, Robson notes, is bigger than herself and bigger than the Little Mermaid would be with the prince. However, the real ending of this fairytale is never revealed in Fairytale Femdom– that the Little Mermaid, while becoming sea foam, but discovers that she has instead turned into an ethereal spirit who is able to obtain redemption and earn a soul- the thing she ultimately craved most. Regardless of which direction Caitlin Robson moves forward with for Fairytale Femdom, I hope her character is able to find the resolution and redemption that she craves.