Jacob Trup with Bournemouth University
Ru Paul's Drag Race may be all the rage, but it is a bold choice for Bournemouth University Students and recent graduates to decide to spin a tale of cross-dressing in southern state Georgia.
Directed and writtten by film director Jacob Trup, the script weaves the lives of Butch and Nina (wisened older drag queens) in with the young, naïve Midnight trying to make it in a new city. This all plays out in '80s Atlanta, where tolerance is not as high as one would hope. Inspired by Nelson Sullivan's footage, this aims to shine a light on the early existence of the drag queens.
The costumes by recent graduate Melanie Luff are the highlight of the show—bold and iconic, they transport us to the era of athletic wear and unflattering hot pants. This is paired with Sami Cook’s make-up designs, channelling the '80s club kid vibe: girls are wearing a full face of glitz and glamour. The drag queens are artfully made up, but it does slightly derail the story as the idea that anyone would be misled into thinking Midnight is a woman rather than a man in drag becomes very far-fetched.
The dialogue flows, although the delivery feels play-acted with dropped accents and not enough conviction and sass to pull off the catty one-upmanship of these queens.
Daniella Queen (Nina) and Adam Martin (Midnight) are the most successful at maintaining the southern twang, and both deliver convincing performances as ladies in wigs. Although a small part, club host Georgia Bishop also stands out as the jaded, chain-smoking club owner. The dancing girls bring a much-needed injection of energy to the night, with Ella Murray (choreography) shining as she acts her way through the dance breaks.
There is one song artfully placed ay Butch’s death, sung with great emotion by Daniella Queen. The show should have ended there, but instead we sat through another 10 minutes of wrapping up plot lines.
A nice showcase for the talent coming out of the South West, clearly there are some excellent technical staff in Bournemouth.
Reviewer: Louise Lewis