Toofly Productions’ Little Miss Glitz advertises itself as “a musical parody of child beauty pageants,” which I’m not convinced is something that the world really needs. Toddlers and Tiaras went off the air in 2013, Here Comes Honey Boo-Boo a year later; the trend has been dead for a while now, and Little Miss Glitz does not offer any compelling reasons to reanimate it.
The plot follows seven-year-old Isabella Connor through her competition in a local beauty pageant. She unsurprisingly finds that the pageant world is more cutthroat than she thought, but in the end, the winner is an unexpected underdog, and everyone learns a valuable lesson. It’s the kind of play a 13-year-old might write at drama camp, and I’m not sure how the producers convinced a room full of adult, non-blood-relatives to watch it.
It’s no Arthur Miller, is what I’m saying.
This would normally be fine, were it not for the fact that – despite having such a saccharine plot – the script is self-indulgently, almost gleefully offensive. The writer has apparently decided that having some sort of Message about self-esteem gives him license to say whatever gross nonsense pops into his head. I have a notebook full of the show’s gay jokes that don’t bear repeating, and a recurring gag is the fact that the pageant director, Peter Phyle – get it? – is a registered sex offender. Comedy gold, that. The show notes say that the play has been in production for over a year, and I can’t believe that in that time, not one person had second thoughts about leaning so heavily on molestation humour.
On the plus side, the choreography was nice, and the lead actress, Paige Fraser, was very good. She’s a zippy, talented physical comedian, and her earnest smile makes you want to believe what she’s selling. If any directors or playwrights happen to be reading this, I beg you to rescue her from this show and put her in something else.
Evidence to the contrary, I don’t generally get my kicks from eviscerating indie theatre, but I feel that Toofly Productions needs a bit less rah-rah and a little more constructive feedback. The company is now working on their next show, which is slated for production in 2017. Maybe the intervening time will give them a chance to grow up?