Drags AloudThursday, 19 August, 2010
Supremely professional entertainment of the highest calibre
Edinburgh 2010, Udderbelly, Cowgate – 5th-29th August ( 22.50 )
Jessica James, Amanda Monroe, Kris Del Vayze and Linda Lamont are quite definitely stars. They are supreme movement artists and dancers who entertained the late night Festival audience with masterful playing of glorious women in splendid dresses. Jessica James’s beautiful costume designs are one key to the shining beauty of the show, more than matched by the wry humour and extra-ordinarily shapely legs of these delightful men in high heels dancing divinely. The sound track is a clever vehicle for their send up/homage to great movies, played with panache and precision.
The tiny theatre space is filled with their vibrant, over-the-top characters. Their comic timing is always perfect, down to the last eyelash, as they play off one another beautifully to create scenes filled with good humoured rivalry and Hollywood glamour. When they are not on stage they are on screen playing a medley of other characters discussing what films they wish to work upon. These ‘movie’ fillers are necessary to allow for complete costume changes and are splendidly funny. They are put together as rough “rushes”, keeping the audience entertained while setting up each scene.
Jessica James writes and directs the shows as well as performing. The deadpan humour of her movement and her famed “ belligerent dancing “ are on display from the top of the show and never fail to raise a belly laugh while the feather-light Linda Lamont leaps and pirouettes elegantly in truly balletic prima donna style, wearing high heels in which it would challenge most women to simply walk elegantly. Linda’s “Dorothy” is a delight, full of mischief and youthful charm. Her face is a mobile picture book and her dancing is wonderful throughout. Kris Del Vayze has a dry wit which permeates her performance, whether as a woman in lovely dresses or as a man in trousers and high heels. His eyes are poetically powerful and her high kicks display legs which would be the envy of many a model. As the Big Cat she is splendidly mean and very funny. Her command of the movement from the pinky to the instep is laced with experience and stunning accuracy. She also assists with the costuming and the very tight, professional choreography of Drags Aloud shows. Amanda Monroe is a curvy sensuous character with a soft wicked sense of humour. She is the one most likely to convince the unsuspecting she is a woman since her décolletage looks great in a low cut gown. Her mobile face and elegant arms bring great charm to the stage. She plays many lovely “ dumb “characters, including a glamorous foil to Jessica’s Titanic granny, with consummate grace. Each of the performers is glorious and all together they create breathtakingly astonishing brilliance.
This Australian Company struck a chord with everyone in the mixed age, mixed race, Edinburgh Festival audience and I suspect they could hold their own in any homophobic working men’s club . It is wonderful to see truly beautiful costumes of such creativity worn by people who possess all the skills to display them well, entertain with gusto and create laughter with each step. Do go and see Drags Aloud at the Movies. You will have treated yourself to one of the gems of the festival.
CAST Jessica James, Linda Lamont, Amanda Monroe, Kris Del Vayze – Drag Artistes
Company – Drags Aloud; Director –Jessica James, Costume Designer – Jessica James, Assistant Costume Designer – Kris Del Vayze, Choreographers — Kris Del Vayze, Jessica James and Linda Lamont, Writers –Jessica James and Amanda Munroe, Music – Amanda Munroe, Producer – Amanda Munroe, Lighting design, —Armen Demirtchian, Sound Production–Armen Demirtchian, Film Director — Jessica James, Film Scripts – Improvised by The Company and written by Jessica James, Camera – Andre Switzer, Venue Stage Manager—Ange and The Company
( c ) Lilian Kennedy Brzoska 2010
reviewed Monday 16th August 10