Review by Natalie Low
It’s 10.30pm and you’re sitting in a dark room with strewn confetti and party hats all over the floor. Then a woman wearing fairy wings carrying an electric guitar steps on stage, and you wonder slightly if you’ve had too long of a day that you’re kind of hallucinating but then you remember that you’re at Party Girl. The show begins with a rock song of sorts and then she introduces herself as Fairy Sprinkles. You never learn her real name, but Fairy Sprinkles wastes no time to dive right in. She works as a children’s party entertainer and she brings you along a day in her life of her job.
The writing is clear and concise, filled with enough description for an audience to have vivid images to follow along her story, and peppered with enough jokes and self-deprecating humour. The show is structured around a list of 10 things to note (lessons) when working as a Party Girl. Each point segments the show and is substantiated with a story and an originally written song. As grounded as this story is, it is sprinkled with moments of absurdness that you cannot help but laugh at.
The set is simple – just an amp, an electric guitar, a mic stand. The props used are also simple but very effective. Everything is hidden inside a large bag, and taken out during an appropriate time in the story – a flower crown, a tutu, bubble-making machine, etc. They help build the story and does elevate the show in its absurdity. The lighting is perhaps one of the elements that felt a little unnecessary. Constantly changing from spotlight to general lighting whilst she’s constantly moving around meant there were moments where she was in the dark, and you’re not quite sure why there needed to be so many lighting changes.
The humour in this story is balanced with strong emotional moments when Fairy Sprinkles talks about the relationship she has with her mother, who lives with bipolar disorder. She gets extremely candid about her childhood and the time she needs to take out of her busy work day to help her mother, and it gets emotional. It comes almost out of nowhere but it makes the story shine more through its raw honesty.
Another standout moment in Party Girl was her story about the moments that make her job satisfying. She goes into the audience for that moment, and it’s a surprisingly tender moment in the middle of the chaos. There’s a deep connection there, and Heffernan’s performance in that moment makes you connect with her deeply.
She’s not afraid to talk about the ups and downs of her job, and show that she is not perfect. In fact, she proudly talks about her imperfections, and situations in her job that seem to take you by surprise but she embraces it all, completely judgement-free, and it is in that moment that you appreciate her even more.