Hypocrisy, thy name is Mike. By telling you last week that I was off to see a drag show at Cabaret, then failing to come back and tell you about it, I have come perilously close to breaching one of my own seven deadly sins of blogging. However, since Miss Mish has spared me the effort by providing her own write-up, all I have to do is link to it, and move on. Isn’t blogging wonderful?
(We don’t call her “Miss Mish” in real life, by the way. Because that would be just silly.)
Oh, go on then – just a couple more observations. The audience was about 80% female, about 60% over 50, and about 95% heterosexual. There were lots of large, jolly groups of ladies who probably worked together: Mary from the post room, Barbara from the help desk, Margaret from catering, all mock-bashfully hooting and screeching at the remorselessly “blue” material from the drag queen compere-cum-DJ. (“We do use some rude words, like f**k. But we could use some worse ones… like murder.”)
After a wobbly start from the “Slinky Minky” troupe (two girls, one boy, one glamorously svelte drag queen lead), consisting of some rather underwhelming strutting and synch-ing to some rather forgettable old show tunes, I was beginning to wonder whether staying in town on a Friday night had been the best move after all. However! The whole evening turned round in an instant, the moment that the next section was announced: a tribute to the Eurovision Song Contest, from the 1960s to the 1990s. How I whooped! How I shrieked! How strangely quiet everyone else went!
They didn’t disappoint, either. From Cliff Richard to Clodagh Rodgers to Abba to Bucks Fizz to Gina G to Dana International, with costume changes galore, it was as if my entire life history was flashing before my eyes. This stuff goes deep, people.
From this moment on, the Slinky Minkys could do no wrong. Such verve! Such panache! Such taste! Oh, I just feel that it’s so vitally important to keep these folk traditions alive, don’t you?
Saving the best till last, the much vaunted “Grand Finale” section turned out to be a tightly choreographed 15 minute montage of songs and routines from Chicago. With this, the Minkys raised their whole game, and excelled themselves. Clever staging, imaginative moves, perfect split-second timing… and all this at the end of a show which had lasted for the thick end of two and a half hours. One had to salute their diligence and stamina, if nothing else.
(Besides which, anything related to Chicago was bound to get our table of former George’s Bar regulars all gee’d up. The soundtrack to last Autumn, that was. You had to be there at the time, though. Honest to Betsy, I’m not the sort of queen who normally goes ga-ga over show tunes. Perish the thought! But to every rule, it’s good to have an exception.)
As the show finished and the disco kicked in (“No drinks up on the stage, girls – and please wait until the crash barriers are in place”), and the Marys and the Barbaras and the Margarets stepped up and shimmied to a stream of thirty-seconds-at-a-time 1960s classics (Four Seasons, Beach Boys, Phil Spector), so we grabbed our things and sloped off to NG1, for our own step-up-and-shimmy. Ee, it’s been a while. These places work best when you’ve kept away for a few months. The trick is not to start thinking it would be a good idea to visit more regularly. Diminishing returns and all that. Strictly high days and holidays, that’s me.
(Um, this was meant to be a single-paragraph hit-and-run link-post. I must be congenitally incapable of brevity. At this rate, we’ll be here all night.)