"Anyone with ears, eyes or even a mediocre sense of humour will have a good time"Photo/ Maria Woodford Design/ Griffin Twemlow

Sound the bells, polish the stripper pole and prepare to be entertained: Dragtime! are back in town. The “kings, queens and in-betweens” are currently performing at the ADC in a seasonally-appropriate show themed around love and romance. Luckily, this premise is open-ended enough to encompass a wide variety of brilliant acts, including a sketch in which lovesick poet Ambrose Rose recites poems dedicated to his understandably unimpressed ex-lover. At the other end of the spectrum you have a rendition of ‘Stupid Cupid’ by performer Irma Femme in which the lyrics were subtly altered to be somehow one of the dirtiest things I’ve ever heard. This incredible variety was one of the show’s real strengths, and kept the audience delighted and hungry for more throughout. It should also be mentioned that the show featured almost as many drag kings as drag queens, which is somewhat unusual in the drag world and was incredibly refreshing to see.

"This incredible variety was one of the show’s real strengths"

The show opened with a group dance number. Although this was entertaining and set an appropriately camp and comedic tone for the evening, I cannot help but feel that it did not quite equal the routines that followed it in terms of polish. Possibly the diverse range of talents exhibited by the performers – elsewhere such an advantage – was something of a setback when it came to the challenge of choreographing a routine which would allow every performer to play to their strengths.

However, things were quickly set back on track by host Magic Dyke, whose personality was delightful enough to make even the most universally feared section of any such show – “getting to know the audience” – not only bearable but hilarious. Magic Dyke introduced each act of the night and, alongside co-host Persephone Porcelynn, was instrumental in holding the whole thing together. The hosts had a few technical glitches to contend with, but they managed to style these out with such charm and humour that the evening was almost all the better for them.

As well as providing banter and witty anecdotes between routines, both hosts performed their own acts as well. Persephone Porcelynn got the chance to flex both her comedic muscles and her vocal chords alongside Irma Femme as they brought to life the characters of Bernie and Gertie – a musical double act doing their 60 year reunion show in a performance which can only be described as Absolutely Fabulous (capitalisation intended). Meanwhile, Magic Dyke’s fireman-themed pole dancing routine to the sweet sound of Nelly’s ‘Hot in Herre’ was totally outstanding, showcasing a  perfect mixture of tongue-in-cheek humour, sexiness and ridiculous upper-body strength.

It wouldn’t be a drag show without lip-sync performances, and ‘Unhinged’ certainly delivered on this front, with routines from Polonia Kowalski (who wore my favourite outfit of the night), Bert I’m A Cheerleader (who had my favourite name) and Sir Evervane, whose rousing performance of Lemon Demon’s ‘Two Trucks Having Sex’ was as hypnotic as it was bizarre. Although the costumes were consistently stunning and the performers are evidently all low-level witches who have some kind of magical power over eye make-up, I found Sir Evervane’s presentation to be the most impressive in this regard, although Persephone Porcelynn’s Marilyn Monroe-adjacent look, complete with gorgeous blonde wig, comes a close second.

"If you’re straight, you should go and watch this show. If you’re not straight, you probably already have"

As enjoyable as all the lip-syncing was, the standout routines of the night for me were the ones which combined music with comedy. Big C’s ‘Man Cave’ song, performed in the character of a man who – we may suspect – has more than platonic feelings for his friend Dave was particularly riotous. I also enjoyed Annie Biotic’s turn as a randy nurse looking for the ideal partner. The most original routine of the night was delivered by performer Pretty Patel, but I won’t spoil it by going into too much detail – I’m sure you’re already more than intrigued.


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Of course, one of the most delightful things about the evening is the fact that it was a riotous, unapologetic celebration of LGBT+ culture. Having said that, anyone with ears, eyes or even a mediocre sense of humour will have a good time watching ‘Unhinged’, regardless of their gender identity or sexuality. If you’re straight, you should go and watch this show. If you’re not straight, well, you probably already have. But, if you’re anything like me, I know that you’re at least a little bit tempted to go again.

 Dragtime! Presents: Unhinged is playing at the ADC at 11pm until Saturday the 19th of February.