By Laura Heuston
Kweens of Comedy is a queer space, open to everyone, that seeks out new and different acts. Featuring stand-up, clowning, improv, drag and music just to name a few, the ethos of this night as a kind and welcoming space permeates the audience and it is clear that everyone there genuinely wants the performers to succeed. Which they did.
The Kween herself, Cleo, acts as our host and make-up extraordinaire, taking us through the night with her witty comments on sexuality, schoolyard bullying, and being British and brown. They are able to discuss experiences that would have been incredibly difficult to navigate as a child with a charming sense of levity and irony, relaxing into themselves and allowing us to laugh with them at the absurdity of racism in the playground. And there truly are some ridiculous moments. Their humour is matched only by their striking beauty, with flawless make-up and impeccable style.
While all being fantastic, there are some clear stand-outs in the line up. Madeleine Stewart has plenty to say on the joys of living in Campbelltown, and only having one fully developed arm. She asked us towards the end of her set if we’re comfortable with disability yet, and frankly, I can’t imagine who wouldn’t be relaxed and enjoying themselves when she is in the spotlight. Jokes on the phallic appearance of her arm, which gives her the ability to send bigger dic pics than many men, features in the routine, between content on the boganism of herself and those around her.
Oli T and Frankie are the only guests that don’t perform stand up, opting for Game of Thrones/medieval themed improv that involved multiple wife swaps and [GOT SPOILER- watch it already] yet another tragic dragon death. The boys play off each other brilliantly, comfortably and hilariously jumping between a multitude of characters and integrating continuity and call backs fluently.
Finally, Lawrence Orkin took on the character of Mr Woodburn Winter Caraway, a wine connoisseur and fedora wearer, who I suspect may also have been sporting two scarfs. His fake beard was truly something to behold, and worked wonderfully with his overtly posh persona. That was the least of the amusement however, as he regaled us with tales of bullfighting, writing a book on failure, and how these two somehow came together in a heartwarming story of blossoming friendship. If this story was an accurate reflection on bullfighting, I’d be more likely to attend than protest it- a complete 180 turn on my part.
The best aspect of the night however, was how wonderfully they succeeded in creating a comfortable, fun, queer, space that excludes no one and encourages all. Some performers were clearly more experienced than others, but no one was treated as lesser, with Cleo providing wonderful and genuine introductions for everyone and the audience being incredibly receptive. I would absolutely recommend checking this night out, both as an audience member and a potential performer.
Kween’s of Comedy is on every three weeks at Ginger’s on Oxford Street.
All opinions and thoughts expressed within reviews on Theatre Travels are those of the writer and not of the company at large.