The Lady Boys of Bangkok: Fur Coats and French Knickers Tour
Produced by Carol & Phillip Gandey
Sabai Pavilion, Times Square, Newcastle, and touring
Amongst a myriad of marketing and a plethora of publicity, The Lady Boys of Bangkok are back on Tyneside for the eighth year in a row. So, get set for a fantastic fun-filled evening of frivolity, right? Wrong!
The diamante still dazzles and the sequins still sparkle but all that glistens is not gold and the performances and material are distinctly lack-lustre in the dubiously entitled Fur Coats and French Knickers. Having been an annual fixture on the revue circuit for thirteen years now, it seems that the lack of luck associated with the superstitious number has rubbed off on this poorly-conceived and disastrously-executed production.
Billed as 'an irresistible mixture of comedy, cabaret and raunchy capers', it couldn't be further from the mark. The 'comedy' is more akin to the sort of smuttiness that would usually be associated with the seaside postcards of Donald McGill or the Carry On films and sexual innuendo is laboriously employed in the hope of getting a cheap laugh from the sparse crowd.
As usual, well-known figures are lampooned by the Lady Boys in an effort to keep the show topical, contemporary and fresh. This year saw Peter Andre and Katie Price get the treatment but, rather than being satirical, it was contrived and banal. And, I have to say, I have never seen a worse 'homage' to Marilyn Monroe - complete with five o'clock shadow and underarm hair!
For those who don't know, most of the entertainment comes in the form of the cast miming to well-known girlie anthems from some of pop's biggest divas. However, the lip-synching was embarrassingly adrift and many of the group didn't seem to even know the lyrics of the tracks they were performing to! What's more, the 'performers' - and I use the term in the loosest sense of the word - lethargically walked-through the choreography with barely an ounce of effort or enthusiasm.
In comparison to the slick and stylish blend of burlesque and Broadway that is being delivered by Betty 'Legs' Diamond, just across the road at Boulevard, The Lady Boys of Bangkok look nothing more than a troupe of tacky Thai transvestites in a tent. Not so much Lady Boys as Lady Bores!
Runs until Saturday 8th October 2011
Tours to Newark, Bolton, Leeds, Dunstable, Burnley, Belfast, St Helens, Chesterfield, Billingham,Winsford, Lincoln, Poole, Swansea and Truro.
Reviewer: Steve Burbridge