Review: The Jinkx & DeLa Holiday Special

Jinkx Monsoon and BenDeLaCreme tackle Christmas the only way they know how in the highly entertainting The Jinkx & DeLa Holiday Special

“Jinkx please, not in front of the baby Jesus”

Clearly knowing they’re onto a good thing, Jinkx Monsoon and BenDeLaCreme have reunited for their third holiday special The Jinkx & DeLa Holiday Special, a show which sees DeLa producing and directing for the first time as well as co-creating and co-writing with DeLa. And though much of the special electricity that characterises the best drag comes from a live environment, the take-off of a TV holiday special here means streaming feels like the show’s ideal home.

The plot, insofar as it matters, sees DeLa trying to convince Jinkx of the merits of a traditional Christmas but finding her convictions shaken as the spirit of her grandma speaks to her from a glass of eggnog. But even as you may scoff at how OTT the whole thing seems, there’s the kernel of something genuine underscoring the messaging that builds to something more substantial than candy canes and colourful costumes, a hard-won emotional truths that many LGBT+ folk will recognise all too well at this time of year. Continue reading “Review: The Jinkx & DeLa Holiday Special”

Review: Death Drop, Garrick Theatre

Courtney Act and Monét X Change lead an enthusiastic drag cast in the good cheer and festive fun of Death Drop at the Garrick Theatre

“It’s going to be a classy party – there’s cheese and pineapple on sticks”

Sat in the Garrick Theatre waiting for Death Drop to start, I couldn’t help but smile. Mainly because of the PWL tunes blaring through the sound system (Kylie, Bananarama, SINITTA!) but also because of the significance of seeing a show like this open in a theatre like this. Covid-19 may have swung like a wrecking ball through theatre programmes this year but the first West End production to feature an all-drag cast is a hell of a green shoot of putative recovery (we just won’t mention anything about the looming shadow of Tier 3…).

Written by Holly Stars from an idea by TuckShop’s creative director and producer Christopher D Clegg, Death Drop is billed as ‘a Dragatha Christie murder-mystery’ but ends up close to adult pantomime as it takes itself seriously not one jot and has moments of blissfully outrageous humour. And rather brilliantly, though it features two alumni of RuPaul’s Drag Race in Courtney Act and Monét X Change, you come away just as impressed – if not more so – by drag kings and queens whose names you may not have known but who you’ll now know to look out for. Continue reading “Review: Death Drop, Garrick Theatre”

Review: On Cloud Nine

Semi-autobiographical in nature and stream-of-consciousness in form, monologue On Cloud Nine wrestles with some big issues

“Apparently in London everything is possible”

Written during 2020’s first lockdown and having its prospective run at The White Bear Theatre kyboshed by the second, the team behind On Cloud Nine opted for the streaming model that so many have gone for to get their theatre out there. But they’ve also gone the extra mile to collaborate with to deliver the show live, to be watched in real time at a specific time, capturing more of the special energy of going to the theatre above just pressing play at any time on a stream.

Written and performed by Mai Weisz, On Cloud Nine is billed as a semi-autobiographical play but nevertheless feels deeply personal, almost too much so as it delves deep into the stream-of-consciousness that accompanies a particular sleepless night. Mirroring the freewheeling nature of the subconscious, the Jewish-Israeli Weisz wrestles ideas of sexual, cultural, political and ethnic identities as they clash and recalibrate within her self, received wisdom duelling hard with lived experience. Continue reading “Review: On Cloud Nine”

Review: Unfamiliar at Home

Unfamiliar at Home proves a fascinatingly different kind of theatre to stream

“Every relationship has to have an interaction”

Reflecting their varied creative oeuvres, Unfamiliar at Home feels as much an art installation as it does a piece of theatre. A highly personal piece, flush with autobiographical detail, we follow theatre and performance maker Victor Esses and visual artist Yorgos Petrou as they go about trying to start a queer family whilst, you know, there’s a pandemic on.

Performed live in their own and streamed into our own, there’s a peculiar form of domesticity at play here. Cameras in the living room and kitchen offer up a view into this real-life couple’s world but with a cool, almost pyschoanalytical lens. Word games give us the story of how they met, or do they? Pre-recorded interviews guide the path of their journey towards surrogacy but pull us away from these two men at crucial moments. Continue reading “Review: Unfamiliar at Home”

Review: Little Wars

A fabulous cast make this rehearsed reading of Steven Carl McCasland’s play Little Wars an interesting choice to stream

“What happens next?”

Raising money in aid of Women For Refugee Women, Ginger Quiff Media in collaboration with the Union Theatre have brought together a stellar cast of some of our finest actors for a rehearsed reading of Steven Carl McCasland’s play Little Wars. It is a weighty and wordy play but streaming passes last for 24 hours so you can always give yourself the interval(s) you need.

The drama imagines a dinner party between six women of considerable note. Its the early 1940s and Gertrude Stein and her girlfriend Alice Toklas are hosting an intimate soirée at their salon in the French Alps. Writers Lillian Hellman and Agatha Christie are expected but when the bell rings, it is anti-fascist freedom fighter Muriel Gardiner at the door. Continue reading “Review: Little Wars”

News: New British LGBTQ+ Musical The Phase releases ‘The Sex Talk’

When Covid comes a-knockin’, the queers go online. The team behind new British LGBTQ+ musical The Phase had big exciting developmental plans lined up for the first half of 2020 but even though they all ended up cancelled, they were determined to keep their creative momentum going. So they’ve recorded a video of one of their songs and rescheduled a workshop for the end of the month.

Set in an all-girls Catholic school, The Phase is a contemporary pop/punk musical written by Meg McGrady & Zoe Morris about friendship, young love and singing loud when others want to silence you. And this track ‘The Sex Talk’ looks at just how crap sex education is, not just for them but for pretty much every schoolkid. Continue reading “News: New British LGBTQ+ Musical The Phase releases ‘The Sex Talk’”

News: top casting for Little Wars revival

Linda Bassett, Juliet Stevenson and Sophie Thompson are among the cast for a digital revival of Little Wars

The marvellous Juliet Stevenson leads an all-star female cast in the online revival of US creative Steven Carl McCasland’s dinner party drama, Little Wars. Joining Stevenson will be Linda Bassett (Call The Midwife; East is East), Debbie Chazen (The Smoking Room; The Girls, West End), Natasha Karp (Rags, Park Theatre; The Kite Runner, West End), Catherine Russell (Holby City; What The Butler Saw, Curve Theatre), Sarah Solemani (Him & Her; Bad Education), and Sophie Thompson (Feel Good; Present Laughter, Old Vic). Continue reading “News: top casting for Little Wars revival”

TV Review: Beautiful People (Series 2)

With its love for Enya and Rory Kinnear camping it up, Series 2 of Beautiful People is another riotous delight

“There’s not many blokes who can say they’ve been felt up by Ross Kemp”

I loved reminding myself of the first series of this most camp of shows and the second series of Beautiful People was just as much fun, albeit with more bits I had forgotten. Or more accurately, there’s bits that resonate differently with different actors – Rory Kinnear doing gay this way is quite something!

Jonathan Harvey’s adaptation of Simon Doonan’s memoirs remain highly witty and as the timeline pushes more into teenage years, it also becomes more overtly gay in a sweet but insistent way, mirroring the journey towards being comfortable enough to come out. Continue reading “TV Review: Beautiful People (Series 2)”