Thomas Magill recently attended ‘Drag Divas’ in the West End. Here he gives us his review of the show.
Chasing the rich assortment of guys-in-gowns who perform around London these days, can be a bit of a drag in itself. Two buses, a tube, and a few DLR stops, just for a bit of Bassey, Minnelli and Turner, hardly seems worth it at times. Well fear not. A bevy of beauties, currently on at the Arts Theatre, could be the very night out you’re looking for.
Simon Gross and John Moore’s Drag Divas pulls together some of the most diverse talent from far and wide, all for a late night show hosted by the hilariously husky-voiced Mrs Moore. The quartet of queens sing hits that span the generations, making this a perfect late night option for young and old alike. If you love your pop, and want to boogie down the isles to hits such as ‘I’m Every Woman’, ‘Simply the Best’, ‘I Want to Dance with Somebody’ and ‘Hot Stuff’, then this is the show for you.
But it’s not all perfection. Attempts at the likes of Winehouse, Gaga, and the material girl herself, Madonna, were well meaning, and it was clear maximum effort had been made to nail them, however, it wasn’t to be. Some of the transformations by Anthony Poore and Leo Loren simply failed to cut the mustard.
Some of the make-up, dance moves and wardrobe choices were also a bit ropey. But this is West End cheese at its very cheapest, and given the late night billing, I doubt anyone in the audience will notice or care.
That being said, there were some genuine nuggets of brilliance from Rob Tucker as Tina Turner, as well as tracks from Dusty and Donna Summer. The 90-minute wait for the Dame that is Shirley Bassey, played by a very convincing Chris Dennis, was also worth the wait.
The Arts Theatre has a real buzz about it these days and Drag Divas certainly adds to that energy. We wouldn’t hike into the West End specially for it, but given that it starts late, lasts about an hour and a half, and finishes with enough time to catch the last tube home, Drag Divas would be a suitably camp and fabulously funny end to an evening in town.