Review by Benjamin Lamb
Continuing their Australian tour, Joe Accaria’s Drummer Queens truly makes a mark with their unique stage show at Melbourne’s iconic Comedy Theatre,
Equal parts musical, drum clinic, and comedy show, Drummer Queens brings the oft marginalised drum set and female drummer to the front and centre for an enjoyable 85 minutes.
Coming from a well versed and learned musical background, Accaria has brought together some of Australia’s best female percussions from far and wide, many of which have appeared in Accaria’s previous productions of Tap Dogs, and others coming from Australia’s rich theatre and live music scene.
The show doesn’t waste any time getting started, the troupe get straight to it showing us why they’ve earned the title of the Drummer Queens. Creating somewhat of a percussive symmetry, one by one, each queen appears as if from nowhere and adds an important layer to the aural experience.
Drums litter the Comedy Theatre stage, the vast space being looked over by two full drum sets on risers, while the stage was reserved for single drum work and some enjoyable choreographed moments.
Throughout the show, we get all different varieties of drumming, each piece is given a title, with things like ‘Marimba’, ‘Asian Metal’ and ‘Cajons,’ we get a bunch of styles from all around the world. Each song is performed with extreme amounts of energy, that slowly seeped into the audience, with close to everyone feeling involved as the show progressed.
The crowd are also graced with most of the instruments in the percussive family, from egg shakers to the xylophone. This vast range being a welcome addition, and helping break up the ordinary drum moments.
Don’t be fooled by the name of the show, it definitely isn’t a show full of drumming, there is some semblance of a storyline in Drummer Queens, with each of the girls playing a character that heavily plays into the dynamic and cohesiveness of the show.
Each of the talented Queens have their moment in the spotlight, bringing something fresh to the stage, whether that be a xylophone solo, tap dancing break or even a cowbell piece, it was enjoyable to see there was no hierarchy, each drummer was not trying to top the last.
The small comedic elements improved as the show progressed, with the performers being more comfortable on the stage, as well as the audience developing an understanding of what to expect in the show as it went on.
These comedy skits scattered throughout the stage show assisted in the flow, but illustrated further that the 85 minutes are all about timing, whether that be a drum battle, a gag, or a dance break. But these ladies were definitely on point for the opening night, none of them missed a beat.
The last act of the show resulted in a bunch of awesome costume changes and an amazing light show, they assuredly finished with a bang, each Queen having an applause break as big as the last.
As the show came to a close, the close to sold out Wednesday night crowd were all up on their feet, giving two standing ovations to the super talented Drummer Queens.
Image Credit: David Hooley