A vicious satire on the beauty industry as depicted in the media, The Meat Cabaret is Slap ‘n’ Tickle’s new show. An abrasive musical which makes up in innovative ideas for any lack of subtlety, it opens with a view of a woman, broadcasting online, with red streaks on her face. A quick flash of apparent horror.
When it transpires she is a beauty blogger, modelling lipstick, any discomfort a viewer may have fades until the blogger finds herself in the Meat Cabaret of the title. She may feel assured in her image of choice: but that’s about to change.
With a white-faced cross between Cabaret’s MC and Batman’s Joker named Master Carver running the show, and two performing models named “Baby Beef” and “Miss Steak”, this hits hard where it means to. Women as objects, with their body types and images scrutinised.
The baby ingenue in her stained bathwater gives a seductive dance. The lady singer compares herself to a recipe enacted out by Master Carver, and the blogger sees a different side to her make-up tips.
The songs – Lawrence Harp as Carver and Isabelle Woolley as Miss Steak write their own pieces – are catchy and relevant. As Baby Beef, Lizzie Wootten exudes an impish innocence. Madeleine Gordon’s Blogger is the public face of change, and she plays her part well.
Slap ‘n’ Tickle’s feminist voice has triumphed in this film. The message could be a tad more nuanced, but it is something that needs addressing when tween and teen audiences in particular follow influencers so closely.
The Meat Cabaret is currently streaming in Online@TheSpace’s second season.