Note: This review is from the 2019 Fringe

Join jolly hockey sticks explorer extraordinaire Madame Fanny Du Thé as she romps around the world 18th century style, cheerfully dragging the audience along behind her on madcap adventures. Featuring an accordion, aristocrats and, of course, a very special cabinet of curiosity, this is an engaging show full of music and amazing folk tales.

Alongside her trusty servants, the flamboyant Fanny re-enacts her daring brushes with sexist pirates, horny Frenchmen and everything else in between. There’s even a man juggling some brains and a sea monster for added kicks. No tale is too fanciful for Madame, whose mantra “curiosity is my ideology” has set her free from the social norms of upper crust society – or so it seems – until a dastardly threat begins to loom in the background.

From the stylish servants in drag to a cellist turned (briefly) into a pirate the tone is upbeat and camply plummy. The audience were certainly game to be swept up in the globetrotting lady’s life and Kate Stokes was magnificent as the lead, playing her as a sort of boarding school Wagnerian Valkyrie.

The perky exuberance of the show did at times feel almost like it could be aimed for children, up until the incident with the Frenchman’s finger that is. There’s not a lot of subtlety in the plot, but the stories that are told are all enjoyably odd and often funny. Unsurprisingly given the state of women’s rights 250 years ago there is a more serious subtext to all the galivanting, but the performance succeeds in raising these issues whilst retaining a joyously frivolous heart.

The Cabinet of Madame Fanny Du Thé is at times bawdy, eccentric and proudly unsophisticated but never dull and will sweep you up in its pantomime-like energy. Join the cast as they sail the seven seas in this lively imagining of an 18th century woman let loose on the world.