The Bitten Peach are the UK’s only gender diverse Pan-Asian cabaret collective, and as such, everything they do is radical. They operate on an intersectional level, drawing our attention to the inherent connections between race, gender and sexuality, and every act of love, pride and talent is an important and vital contribution to the British drag and cabaret scene. Watching them live is pure joy — they are talented, funny, joyous individuals who light up the stage, making the audience laugh, sing, and scream throughout the night.
Before I begin, I would like to briefly extend my thanks to the Garrick Theatre. Upon hearing that I am quite anxious about COVID at the moment, they give me a box seat without question so that I can feel comfortable during the performances. This feeling of support is one that is certainly built upon throughout the evening and ensures that I have a really enjoyable experience.
The Bitten Peach, which is running as part of Tuck Shop West End’s first ever season of live drag, is made up of performers of Asian descent who work in a variety of nightlife performance genres. We watch Mahatma Khandi perform a stirring rendition of ‘One Thousand Miles’ (piano included!), ShayShay live her dream of becoming a K-Pop sensation, Fancy Chance impersonate Prince, and Ayesha H crack a whip whilst dancing phenomenally around the stage. Dosa Cat is a personal favourite for me — she dances effortlessly, transferring her energy from the stage out into the crowd, as well as being really funny.
Our host for the night, Lilly SnatchDragon, is also a standout – she is sweet, savage, hilarious and personable, and ensures we keep laughing for the whole show. Not only does she host, she also performs an outstanding burlesque piece whilst looking fantastic and singing at the same time, which is one of my favourite performances of the whole evening. The only thing I would like to see from this show is a bit more of a narrative between performances, something to tie the pieces together – at times they feel quite disparate and incongruous with no solid connection.
We are told at the beginning of the evening that ‘bitten peach’ is a code word and symbol for homosexuality in Asian culture. One thing, out of many, that I adore about The Bitten Peach is the sheer pride in being Asian that radiates out from the stage. Against a backdrop of rising Asian hate and the horrific, vile things that happened and are happening in America within the Asian community, this show is a beautiful beacon of Asian beauty, confidence, and culture. The atmosphere cultivated by the performers within the Garrick Theatre is one of acceptance, solidarity, joy, and support, and there is nowhere I would rather have spent my Thursday evening.
The Bitten Peach played at the Garrick Theatre on 5 August 2021. For more information, see Nimax Theatres online.