Have you ever pretended you were a character in your favourite movie and acted it out in your room? If yes, you’re in good company with Celeste Cahn. A Lady Does Not Scratch Her Crotch uses Disney’s Beauty and the Beast as a framing device for a light-hearted, feminist look at girlhood. While it cannot be said that Cahn is breaking new ground with the well trodden topics this show covers (posture, flatulence, promiscuity, looks vs intelligence, deference vs assertiveness). It is done in a personal and unique way by a performer of competence and style.
The basement of Burrito ‘n’ Shake is one of those Fringe venues that seems designed to challenge performer and audience. As Cahn notes at the top of the show, (really hamming it up in character as Lumière mind you) we are right next to the kitchen and so staff are passing back and forth behind the audience constantly. The door squeaks loudly each time it is used and while staff do their best to be unobtrusive, it’s impossible not to notice. Cahn takes this all in stride, and at one point a well timed interruption heightens the comedy of some surreptitious masturbation as her eyes track the staff across the room and she waits until they have left to continue.
Bouncing all over the stage with infectious energy, Cahn weaves anecdotes from her childhood with imagined conversations between herself and various Beauty and the Beast characters in which she plays every part. Use of minor background moments (remember the washer woman who leaves the well when Bell starts singing to the sheep? Me either) allows Cahn to create her own original characters to go alongside the big names. Gaston is portrayed as nothing more than a lecherous smiley face drawn on a bicep, while the aforementioned washer woman has an entire segment of her own.
This piece is enjoyable for anyone not afraid of a little self exploration and if you’re a Disney fan you’ll certainly have a hoot.