Jinx Monsoon is a name that all RuPaul Drag Race fans will be very familiar with. To many fans around the world she is known as the winner of season 5. I, like many, assumed she was simply a drag queen, but as Drag Becomes Her is going to prove, Jinx Monsoon is a woman of many talents. She can sing, dance and ad lib to a packed out audience, whilst keeping them engaged and entertained – making her the ultimate triple threat to watch out for!
If you booked tickets for this play because you were a fan of the original Death Becomes Her, then you’re in for a treat, as the comedy stylings of Jinx Monsoon and Ben De La Crème are tantalisingly close to Meryl Streep and Goldie Hawn’s – an accolade any comedic actor could hope for. Both Monsoon and De La Crème provide a flirtatious parody of the movie in a style that is perfect for their audience. Drag Becomes Her knows exactly who it’s aimed at, and it works! Every single audience member is absorbed in the action, every joke lands and there are even local references which invite us to love this production that little bit more.
The relationship shared between the two actors off-stage was evident on stage. They look like they are having so much fun performing, which then reflects in how the audience feels. Even moments when it goes so wrong, it is still so enjoyable. The little quips and ad libs that are made simply added to the comedic value of the production and have audience members howling with laughter, to the point that the actors themselves join in. Even when the fourth wall is broken to insult audience members after a joke about Manchester drag didn’t land – the audience lapped it up and couldn’t stop laughing.
However, if you aren’t a fan of Drag Race, or you haven’t watched it, then I fear this might not be the production for you. Many of the jokes are related to things that had happened on previous seasons (caricatures of Thorgy Thor and Valentina among them) and some lines are so obscure that even serial RuPaul fans didn’t seem to understand them. Some of the gags are used for a cheap laugh and you can tell, such as scenes where the comedy heavily relies on licentiousness to get a laugh. This could be to do with the fact that the humour doesn’t translate from American to British, as they are very different styles of comedy, but it still feels out of place. Scene changes also seem to drag on (pun very much intended), as audience members are waiting for up to 40 seconds for one small piece of set to be brought on, although props are due to the cast members that do these manoeuvers in six inch platform heels.
There is a strong familial atmosphere. Everyone seems to enjoy the show regardless of how ‘well’ the performance goes, and I think that’s very reflective of the drag community as a whole. Everyone is included and feels welcomed. The fact that it is put on at HOME is also special, as they pride themselves on being very accepting of all walks of life. Everyone’s needs feel considered by the cast and the production team, which adds to the value of the production.
Simply stated – if you love Drag Race or any form of drag, you need to see this. It showcases not only known talent like Jinx, but also local drag talent from Manchester, which is all rounded into a feel good night of fabulous gowns and parody.
Peaches Christ’s Drag Becomes Her played at HOME Manchester until 11 May. For more information, visit the HOME Manchester website.