Mark Weich

Drag has long been a haven for counterculturist performance. Dragtime! takes this acceptance of the uncommon, and twists it into a celebration of the downright weird in its Halloween spooktacular Things That Go Bump N' Grind In The Night. Unafraid to deliver both the meme and the more niche across a night of humour, commentary, and downright artistry the show doesn’t fail to deliver its fair share of skilled and original acts.

From the moment Magic Dyke (Griffin Twemlow) takes the stage to lead the audience through show admin, Things That Go Bump N' Grind In The Night is full of humour, setting the tone for this night. Although, their time on stage was brief it got the point across: both in terms of the admin, and in terms of what you’re letting yourself in for (a rapturously good time). Magic Dyke does such a good job of making admin – objectively the most boring part of any production – side-splittingly funny that it’s a massive shame that the only other time we see them in this show is right at the end.

However, although they are the first to take the stage in a speaking capacity, Magic Dyke is not the host of the night. Instead, this role went to Persephone Porcelynn (Nik Pope), who – as both a performer and compère – more than rose to the occasion. Persephone Porcelynn’s humorous hosting allowed each individual performer to shine; joke-filled, and unafraid to poke fun at herself, performers, and the audience, she brought together fabulous individual acts into a complete and cohesive show – no easy job in a show with such variety.

The individual acts themselves managed to maintain the calibre of performance set by Magic Dyke and Persephone Porcelynn right at the start of the show. Each act offering a different, and welcome, take on Drag, and none could be accused of unoriginality or lack of creativity.

Particular standout moments from the night included Velvet Caveat’s (Connor Duffy) bake-off lip-sync. Difficult to explain and unyieldingly witty, Velvet Caveat’s cream-filled performance was as wonderful as it was weird, a perfect execution for a Halloween themed evening. Velvet Caveat’s character construction is undeniably creative and had the audience laughing throughout.

King Hoberon’s (Helena Fox) phallus-filled performance to a Sesame Street classic was brilliant and unexpected; the accompanying dance somehow both rhythmic and highly amusing, and the corresponding clothing impeccably put-together. There’s not really much I can say about this performance without giving away the gag, however, rest assured it’s a particularly hilarious highlight in what is already an audacious and amusing evening. 

Although, the acts were all incredible, many were slightly hindered by technical problems, the most notable of these being Miss Tryst (Noelle Woolery). Whose audio was almost entirely de-railed during their performance; despite this, however, Miss Tryst gave a passionate and utterly invested take on a Lady Gaga classic, which they should absolutely be commended for. Miss Tryst particularly leaned into the Halloween theme with an impressive costume and Deasil Waltho's clever lighting design accentuated their performance.


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Real praise must also go to Persephone Porcelynn, for how she went above and beyond when handling the show’s many technical difficulties. Rather than these large, noticeable issues tanking the night, Persephone Porcelynn’s incorporation of them into her spiel made them into a feature of the show, a commendable take on the sort of mishap that often derails a show entirely.

The final act of the night was a bringing together of the entire cast for a rendition of a Halloween classic in which audience participation was invited, encouraged even. Despite very few audience members actually participating, the number was followed by enthusiastic applause, demonstrating just how much the audience had enjoyed it, and the show at large – an enthusiasm clear throughout the entire night.

Dragtime! Presents: Things That Go Bump N' Grind In The Night is a show that doesn’t take itself too seriously, free from the overly polished, sanitised influences of certain factions of the recently popularised American drag scene. This Halloween spooktacular is a shining example of UK drag, full of wit, humour, and creativity.

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