To start, ‘Who Writes This Stuff’ is a fairytale, the kind of fairy tale that we want to hear because this person is real, and we care about them.
Britni Leslie looks and sounds like a Disney princess, and I wouldn’t be surprised if at some point little woodland animals appeared out of nowhere to begin singing and harmonising with her – she really has that much charm.
The performance is Britni’s own fairytale starts in Orlando, Florida, coincidently, the same city where Walt Disney World is. These stories relate to books that Britni turned to for advice to seek help but ended up questioning whether this advice is really all that helpful. When this princess finds her prince and moves to Australia to be with him, they get married and have a little baby boy. All these events have their own songs that are set to some of my favourite Broadway tunes, and while I didn’t know the words to her unique versions of these songs, they were so incredibly catchy and wholesome, I picked them up pretty quickly.
As Britni told the story of trying for a baby with her partner, she was almost at her most charming, singing about “Rolling in the hay” with a wonderful exchange between her and her talented pianist Matthew Nutley which had the audience (including myself) in joyful hysterics.
One of the moments I found extremely heartbreaking but also the emotional peak of the show was Britni’s performance of Charlie Chaplin’s ‘Smile’. Britni’s rendition is not only beautiful, but it is the perfect song choice for this story, and her feelings around the subject matter in the tale at that time. Watching her stand on the stage and perform was so moving that I had tears in my eyes. It truly felt like I was watching her on a large stage in front of an audience of thousands of people. Her stage presence is just so captivating and strong.
As talented as Britni is when she is singing about a traumatic part of her life, she is at her most powerful when she’s being a campy theatre kid. Every single time she broke into song she had my attention, and her passion for performing and entertaining people was so, clear that it was impossible not to be captivated by her.
I’ve mentioned that I love Broadway musicals so hearing the opening piano notes of ‘Little Girls‘ from Annie had me bouncing in my seat with joy. But with Britni’s changes, she transformed it into something completely different, making it her own while also showcasing the popular tune to be a perfect addition to her personal story.
The funniest moment of the show was the song about having a toddler. I’ve heard the horror stories, but the way Britni sings of the highs and lows of raising a toddler was fresh. It didn’t feel like I was listening to the same jokes from another comedian for the millionth time.
As the show ended, there was a completely spontaneous and not at all rehearsed Disney melody between Britni and two audience members that was both hysterical and left me awe at how fantastic this raw and impressive the vocal performances were.
The magical enchanting presence that is Britni Leslie, is something we all need to enjoy and witness. A book or film may make us smile and laugh, but never in the same way that live performance can. It has honestly been a very long time since I’ve had a constant smile on my face, like I had the night I was watching Britni Leslie’s ‘Who Writes This Stuff?’. I was charmed, I was smiling and I was laughing so much that my face was hurting, and I couldn’t have been more grateful.
Britni Leslie is performing ‘Who Writes This Stuff?’ at Melbourne’s The Butterfly Club until Saturday the 28th of May.
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