Colleen Ballinger brought her character show Miranda Sings to London as part of her international tour. TenEighty was invited to Cadogan Hall on 20 September for this truly unique experience.
“What is the performance tonight?”, asks an elderly woman stood outside Cadogan Hall in affluent Chelsea, London. “Miranda… some sort of singer on the internet”, replies a steward. This isn’t the first time the general public have’t quite understood YouTubers. But it’s a very different story inside.
Countless audience members are dressed up in their finest striped shirts and red sweatpants. They’ve smothered their lips in garish red lipstick. They giggle among their friends as a video compilation preludes the evening performance.
It boasts collabs with the likes of Zoe Sugg, Tyler Oakley and bae Joey Graceffa. When you’ve got friends like these it’s easy to see how the MirandaSings08 channel has amassed over two million subscribers. But it’s not just that.
Modelled after stereotypes she encountered at high school, Colleen Ballinger has been performing as Miranda Sings since 2008. Intentionally bad music videos and failed challenges have become synonymous with Miranda, and it’s Coleen’s dedication to the crazy that makes the character so loveable. But could adapting this bizarre persona for a live audience risk pushing the joke too far?
Immediately it’s evident that Miranda Sings London is more than just a celebration of her videos. Colleen opens the show by transforming into Miranda live on-stage and proceeds to guide the audience through a Self Help Seminar on “PORN, love, BULLIES and Self isteam [sic]”. This quickly captures the hearts of dedicated ‘Mirfandas’ while setting the obscure tone for any newcomers.
Audience members are encouraged to take pictures and videos throughout the show to post on Twitter and Instagram, which is rewarded with a follow from Miranda to a lucky few. It’s a smart marketing strategy and, more importantly, it engages viewers in an exciting way. Colleen certainly cares about her fans and understands the power of directly interacting with them.
Accompanying her during this tour is sister Rachel Ballinger. Having previously confessed in vlogs, on PsychoSoprano, that touring makes her miss the Ballinger family, having her and fiancé Joshua Evans on various legs of the tour clearly means a lot to Colleen and gives her a fresh and present energy. Billed as Miranda’s on-stage assistant in London, Rachel brightens the show while also filming each day of the tour for her vlog channel NOVAQUA.
Colleen is no stranger to the stage, having previously appeared on Broadway and performing Miranda on the underground comedy circuit, and these experiences create a presence that truly brings Miranda to life.
She makes no hesitation in responding to hecklers with comments such as “You love me, I know, get over it” and “I have NO idea what you just said but thank you, I love you”. Bringing the audience in on jokes and throwing sass back out at them is a hard thing to master, but Colleen delivers effortlessly at with slick comedic timing.
YouTube videos are featured heavily throughout the show, providing a background visual for the performances, but it is clear Miranda Sings Live is something new, exciting and well rooted with pop culture trends.
Whether you’re a die-hard Mirfanda or a stranger to her videos, you’re sure to enjoy the original flavours and quick-witted humour that Miranda has to offer. She even gives a sneak peek at an upcoming YouTube video, which has the audience in fits of laughter.
The performance comes to an end with a megamix of current chart hits including Best Song Ever by One Direction and One Less Problem by showbiz friend Ariana Grande. While many of the songs in the show have been posted to the MirandaSings08 channel, there is still more than enough exclusive live content to surprise, entertain and keep the audience singing along.
It’s hard to pinpoint a downside to the show because it’s so well delivered. Maybe we’re too in awe of Colleen and her magnificent creation, but in truth we wished the performance went on for longer. Considering the wealth of material online and the variety of numbers that have worked so well in previous shows, only getting an hour of Miranda leaves us desperate for more.
And when we’re that desperate, we end up doing our best Miranda impression all the way home. We won’t lie to you, it’s a pretty weak attempt. Haters back off.
Miranda Sings Live is touring the UK in November 2014. Visit KiliLive for tickets.
Words and pictures by Alex Brinnand.
Check out our full Miranda Sings London photo-set on Tumblr for more exclusive pictures.