Review By Matthew Hocter
Drag, in its many varied manifestations, has been around for hundreds of years and throughout numerous cultures. In recent times, drag has not only come to the forefront of the queer community at large for entertainment purposes en masse, but many times, has been the catalyst for political and social movements (Stonewall riots) within said community. It has largely been dominated by gay men and is an integral part of the Queer community, but as with many things, drag too, has and is evolving - always. Inclusivity, diversity and gender have all challenged the traditional concept of drag, allowing for more space for cisgender, trans women and non-binary people to partake in this beautiful and nuanced art form.
Drawing on the infamous Drag brunches made famous in London and New York (Brunch @ Yotel in NY brings back incredible memories), the host with the most, Victoria Falconer took centre stage, albeit sequined pumps, drink in hand and on the search for those pumps. With a little help from fellow cast members Lizzy Baker and Alex De Porteous, Falconer is placed in her shoes and the audience firmly set in her sights.
With a cast consisting of the stunningly sensual dancer and burlesque performer Lizzy Baker, Drag Queen royalty Kween Kong, the mesmerizing queer cabaret originator Alex De Porteous, the incredibly talented whip cracker, dancer and acrobat Dale Woodbridge-Brown and a special guest appearance by the multi-talented extraordinaire Miss Cairo (founder of the people of cabaret initiative), this show was only ever going to be the stuff of every dream and fantasy rolled into sixty minutes of pure camp wickedness. And all before midday!
From the get go, Falconer engaged and entertained her audience with a mixture of camp comedic genius and sexual innuendo, never missing a beat to get in and amongst the people creating a connection that so many other shows fail to do. With Woodbridge- Brown given the enviable task of following in the footsteps of Falconer as first act off the ranks, he wowed the audience with his cowboy camp whipping fest that culminated in a deflowering of sorts and left many a fetish in desperate need of attention. But I digress.
Burlesque beauty and phenomenal dancer, Baker delivered a gorgeous lip sync that would leave the most experienced of Queens envious, not to mention that transition from demure Disney princess to Roman goddess Venus. Miss Cairo followed suit with an equally sensual burlesque number as she sang “My Heart Belongs to Daddy,” paving the way for some audience participation and a drinking game, ensuring that brunch was done right.
The sickeningly gorgeous Kween Kong stormed the stage and as per usual, tore the roof off of the Speiegeltent and demonstrated how much of an artform drag truly is. It is NO secret that admiration and Kween Kong are regualrly used in sentences by me and the level of excellence and diversity that she is bringing to not just the Adelaide drag scene, but the drag scene at large in Australia is not only well overdue, but needed and something many of us are grateful for. From drag to aerial keg acrobatics, Malia Walsh was everybody's favourite drunk bogan as she turned the beloved Aussie keg into a feat of acrobatic mastery complete with “Run to Paradise” as her soundtrack of choice – GOLD.
As SMASHED came to an end, Falconer took to the violin showcasing even more of her talents and also providing an introduction into a stunning version of Kylie Minogue’s “Confide in Me,” sung by De Porteous as she sauntered through the Spiegeltent making her way to the stage for the group finale. As the cast assembled on stage for their last routine complete with bathtub, Queerios, milk and a pumped-up version of Suzanne Vega’s “Tom’s Diner,” I couldn’t help but feel sad. I wanted it to go on for another hour. My appetite and other senses had been whetted with more and being selfish, I wanted to indulge that. But like all good things, this too had to end and on the highest of highs.
If you can only get to one show this Fringe, make it Smashed.