Life’s A Drag proves an entertaining solo show at Jack Studio Theatre
“What’s the point of living in London if you have to wait 8 minutes for a bus?”
There’s a moment midway through Life’s A Drag where [mild spoiler alert] an LGBTQ+ hate crime is revealed and the heart sinks a little. Stories of queer trauma can feel too prevalent but fortunately in the hands of writer/performer Nancy Brabin-Platt, there’s purpose here, showing that its part of a lived spectrum – deep sadness to queer joy – all part of the daily grind.
The authenticity of Brabin-Platt’s voice aids immensely too, especially compared to, say, Terry Johnson’s attempts to add to the conversation at the Menier…. She plays Max, a teenager attempting to live her best London life but finding it trickier than most. Having found the outlet of drag, she’s determined to battle preconceptions to fully unleash her Drag Diva.
To get there, Max needs to deal with her relationship with her mum, navigate the local TERFs and figure out the depths of her feelings for best friend Beth, whilst also working out where she’s waking up after any heavy night out. Her tale is energetic and engaging, Brabin-Platt’s performance establishing her forthright point-of-view as she hauls naysayers aplenty over the coals.
Director Lois Brabin-Platt utilises the black box space well to delineate the different spaces Max inhabits, and the use of screens to bring Diva to life in front of us is well done, particularly when they accompany Max’s lip-syncs. There’s eloquent arguments for women’s place in drag scenes across the board and in following the things that will give you they joy needed to get through the trauma.