The sophomore offering following her award-winning Friendly Feminism for the Mild Mannered, Millicent Sarre is Opinionated showcases the emerging cabaret star at her best and boldest, tackling a rich array of historical and contemporary issues facing women and femme folk.
Held at The Lark, a venue exclusively hosting non-male acts, the one-woman cabaret captivates from the get go, with Sarre holding the audience’s full attention as she croons “opinionated women are gonna set the world on fire” over a cool, bluesy piano accompaniment. Donning an orange corduroy suit (perhaps a nod to feminist forebears of the 60s and 70s), she rhapsodically opines over the next hour, sharing her perspectives on all ranges of topics from meritocracy to masturbation, diet culture to domestic labour, and internalised misogyny to intersectionality, all thoughts deeply rooted in a strong understanding of the law (Sarre is a trainer lawyer) and social justice.
Having honed her skills has a cabaret artist in Friendly Feminism, Sarre is adept in framing the smaller moments of the show while keeping sight of the larger journey she takes her audience on, educating (and sometime approriately admonishing) them along the way. Some brief advice from her life coach, a cameo from a misogynist blokey alter ego, and a lightning round of feminist rap, amongst other memorable moments, are all carefully constructed for immaculate comedic timing and seamless flow. Sarre’s skills as a lyricist and composer also radiate, with songs including ‘The Night of the Haunted Vibrator’ (present in the style of an old Russian ballad reminiscent of Anastasia’s ‘Once Upon A December’), and ‘If You’re An Adult Man Dating A Teenager (You’re a Creep)’ (emphatically delivered over cheery ukulele chords).
While Sarre declares that her “fear of confrontation has well and truly mellowed” between producing her first show and Opinionated, much of this show’s latter half presents an activism rooted in compassion and kindness for self and other. Subtly shifting from sardonicism to self-awareness, Sarre openly discusses her introspective journey contending with internalised misogyny and negative body image at length, channelling these experiences through a series of heart-felt, tear-inducing songs including the recently-released single, ‘I Will Be Mine‘. Her vulnerability offers a point of empathetic connection, underlining the importance of supporting women’s rights and intersectional social justice concerns, and driving home the myriad benefits of achieving these for all members of society. With passionate advocates like Sarre championing feminist ideals, one can be hopeful that such opinions might soon be shared and acted on more broadly.
The winner of a Fringe Weekly Award for Best Cabaret, Millicent Sarre is Opinionated is a must-see show, on at The Lark until Sunday 6 March.
Reviewed 22 February 2022 at The Lark