Jay Chiswick

No one refuses the Matriarch’s summons to go down to the ADC for the latest Dragtime! show. Cambridge’s leading drag troupe is always a scandalously good time, and last night, they did not disappoint. Time and time again, they have succeeded in electrifying audiences for hours of outrageous entertainment – this was no different. 

'Each act was fun, dazzling, and never too serious, rousing audiences and making for a delectable show'

The show’s opening number was energetic and playful. Velvet Caveat dazzled the stage as the troupe’s mother, humorously establishing some ground rules before the cast joined her on stage for a classic gender-bending number, with kings and queens prancing around stage as their boas and ties were snatched. This set the tone for an evening of hilariously irreverent acts centred around gender, the woes of modern love, and the perils of the traditional family.

 Alma Fella was memorable in her solo act, a Valium housewife craving love. Pills, wine, and a cheeky banana – not to mention a Britney-going-bald stint that had the audience screaming – made for an unforgettable number. Big C, Dragtime!’s youngest recruit, was a glorious discovery, with two solo acts that had everyone laughing to the point of tears, delivered with all the swagger of a 17-year-old lad touring Europe (and going to France for some “quality bants”). Velvet Caveat was provocative and sensual in her various appearances on stage, as was Spartaca in an endearing number preceded by an outrageous voiceover about one-night stands. Sir Loin was seducing in a dynamic act graced by a stunning holographic harness ­– all around, each act was fun, dazzling, and never too serious, rousing audiences and making for a delectable show.

Jay Chiswick

I was particularly touched by the act King Hoberon and CÉLINE performed about the hopes for a happy, loving, queer relationship, delivered with sensitivity and voiced over by anonymous submissions about the highs and the lows of the queer experience. Naturally, the fun of Dragtime! is that it is just that, fun – but this number succeeded in slotting itself organically into the rest of the show while providing sincere insight into queer families and the desire for a blissful life. This moment fit beautifully with Dragtime!’s mission to open up the stage to women and non-binary kings and queens, allowing for a playful, tongue-in-cheek exploration of gender that was inclusive, body-positive, and unbelievably fun. 

'We are lucky to have something so consistently delectable and deliciously amusing about being queer.'

The music was lively and electrifying; the costumes were dazzling (where does Spartaca find those lace-up leather trousers?), the choreography had flair and showcased the cast together in the most stunning way. Slight glitches with microphones added to the show, rather than hindering it: when our kings and queens are bemoaning the incidents of life, there is nothing like a slight technical malfunction to add to the joke. Every performance was enhanced by colourful and atmospheric lights. The set was simple, but it did not need to be anything other than that: the show was in the cast, their energy, their humour – and that’s more than we deserve.


Mountain View

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Dragtime! doesn't need to be perfect or pristine: it is irreverent, fabulous, and entertaining for everyone involved. The cast were having the most incredible time, and so was the audience: the theatre was filled with whoops, cheers, and laughter throughout the hour. Dragtime! is an important show because of how inclusive and diverse it seeks to be, and I would dare say we are lucky to have something so consistently delectable and deliciously amusing about being queer and everything that that means.

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