Live Review: Confessions Of An Ex-Drag Queen

confessions of an ex-drag queen index
Chapel Playhouse, King’s Cross, London, 17/11/2019.

Kristen (Lauren Wilson) is hungover and just not in the mood for a wedding today, which is made all the worse as bridegroom Spencer (Daniel McCaully), who used to moonlight as Sarah, the ex-drag queen of the title, is missing and she has to find him before his bride Denise (Bethany Milton) finds out. He’s left behind a notebook filled with memories of his time as Sarah as the only clue, and so Kristen finds herself on a mission to track him down using it.

That involves her meeting a group of unusual individuals all with links to Sarah / Spencer, from a perfume counter girl to a music store owner with Tourette’s, his agent’s assistant and then his ex-singing partner, ending with a trip to his plastic surgeon and make up artist. During her journey she discovers that as much as she loves her best friend there was an awful lot she didn’t know about him, nearly all of which comes in the form of a song about the relationship they had with each other.

It’s a lo-fi affair with just three actors, and bar Lauren Wilson all of them take on multiple roles which means not just creating a variety of different characters but singing in their voices too, which they do almost always impressively. Some of the songs are less affecting than others but none are bad in the slightest, and while most of them are quite funny when Kristen and Denise get to sing a solo number each it’s especially sweet and poignant, and reveals more about their characters than we previously knew.

Towards the end the play attempts a bit of a rug pull and makes us reevaluate our feelings for a character who previously had been a little less than sympathetic, which it only manages in a partially successful way. But the ending itself is a thoughtful and smart one, with a strong (and important) message about how to cope with life if it’s not going the way you’d hoped, and the only thing lacking is one final big number to send us on our way.

The acting on display from both Milton and Wilson is superb, with the latter especially deserving kudos as she’s on stage 95% of the time and holds the piece together, and though Daniel McCaully is a little mannered in a couple of his roles most of the time he’s bloody good too. Produced by Glitter Theatrical with a book and lyrics by Jack Stone and music from Lukas McCabe, it’s an intelligent, witty and enjoyable affair, and a musical which definitely deserves to be staged in a far bigger venue than the Chapel Playhouse.

★★★ 3/4

Alex Finch.
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Related Link
Glitter Theatrical.

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