The first ‘Miranda Sings’ video first graced our laptop screens back in 2009. It’s now 2013, and there is something fascinating about the sheer brilliant audacity of someone making such a successful career out of being so unashamedly terrible. Yet hugely successful Colleen Ballinger, the creator of Miranda Sings, is. Since posting her first video as Miranda, the girl has had about 57 million YouTube views. That kind of publicity can’t be bought. Her fan base also speaks (and screams) volumes. They even have their own name, the ‘MirFandas’, who were giving Barry Manilow’s ‘Fanilows’ a run for their money at the Leicester Square Theatre for the London leg of her 2013 tour.
After a perfectly acceptable, if slightly surplus warm-up routine comprising of an N-Sync medley delivered by Ballinger’s boyfriend, Joshua David Evans, who acts as a sort of sidekick-come-stage crew throughout the show, Ballinger makes a brief musical appearance as herself. Ballinger has a perfectly strong Musical Theatre voice of her own, yet it was clear who the real star of the show was. The twentysomething boys who looked like they’d just step-ball-changed out of an ArtsEd jazz class bore tribute in their buttoned up shirts and clumsily applied red lipstick- Miranda Sings was suddenly in the building.
The success of Miranda Sings really hammers home how much the internet has woven itself deep into our subconscious
The show that followed was a slick mix of stand-up, show-tunes, scantily clad dancers and sketches. Ballinger knows her alter-ego Miranda to her uncoordinated bones and is clearly a very gifted comedy actress. Delivering a range of songs that roamed from Lady Gaga to the Little Mermaid, Miranda was truly on top form and laugh out loud funny. Sequences involving slapstick, clever use of props, elaborate powerpoint presentations and the odd audience member here and there made for some eye-wateringly funny moments. However, there is a slight sense that Miranda as a character has a shelf-life. Some of the set felt a little slow, resulting in just a few titters rather than the hearty guffaws that the character is clearly used to. Despite this, Miranda clearly appeals to a very niche audience, namely that of the drama-school attending/ X-factor watching generation. She says herself, “I’ve always been famous, it’s just that since I went viral the whole world now knows I’m famous”. There’s something of the genius about a talented actress who lives in an age where people get famous for being untalented on national television, going on to make her name in the industry by playing a character who is shockingly bad, yet believes she’s brilliant. Do we not watch this same show every Saturday night on TV?
The success of Miranda Sings really hammers home how much the internet has woven itself deep into our subconscious. In the five years since that first Miranda video was posted, YouTube has exploded in power and popularity. The Internet has a huge amount to answer for. Would ‘The Book of Mormon’ have been as popular over here without it’s Twitter campaign which blended seamlessly with its overall marketing strategy? I noticed huge amounts of people in tonight’s audience with fingers openly pressing their iPhone ‘record’ buttons. Usually in a theatre a zealous usher would smite them down, yet here it’s allowed, I assume because Ballinger (and indeed Miranda) owes her success to Lord Internet and Earl YouTube themselves.
High art this is not, yet, if you have chuckled at the online offerings from Miranda Sings, you’ll giggle harder at her live show. After tonight could I count myself as a MirFanda? Hell yes. In the words of the lady herself, “Haters, back off.”
*** (3 stars)