RuPaul's Drag Race UK Live
- Lorna Irvine
- 9 December 2019
Belles slay, mostly, in live show
Part of the joy of RuPaul's relocation to Britain is the gritty, more punkish sensibility. Not for the UK contingent, a slick and streamlined aesthetic. But that's not to detract from the professionalism or artistry: it's just more anarchic.
So it is with the live show. The structure is such that there is too much reliance on lip-syncing to the artists' latest singles, when the inclusion of the Snatch Game would have been a great way to bring in more variety.
However, the surprises come in the star turns from seemingly-unexpected sources. Vinegar Strokes' cover of Lana Del Rey's 'Video Games' is gorgeously soulful, and she pointedly explains where her hair was bought from, satirising the fashion industry and its lack of ethics.
The Vivienne may be the outright TV show champion, but her routine doesn't have as much impact as others. Her Kim Woodburn impersonation is fine, as is her Cher, but 'Walking In Memphis' seems a bizarre choice of song.
Far more interesting is quieter act Blu Hydrangea and her Harry Potter routine. It's risque but not cheap, and inventively staged, coming across as a witty burlesque, an intoxicating spell.
Baga Chipz is clearly the Glasgow favourite. The crowd goes bananas when she takes to the stage, a vision in red sparkles like Liza Minelli soaked in gravy. She sings 'New York, New York' wonderfully. Her humour vacillates between Vegas and end of the pier effortlessly, as she banters with the crowd and brings a lovably snarky working-class energy to the evening.
But arguably the best turn by far is from Crystal. Her latex fetish aerial work, all done in vertiginous heels, is as sexy as it's elegant, audacious and jaw-dropping. She brings a sense of danger and queer performance art to a mainstream audience, but they clearly adore her. And you can't argue with pyrotechnics shooting from her tits.
Reviewed at Theatre Royal, Glasgow.