Review: Dragtime! Presents: Curiouser and Curiouser

An audacious and fantastic rabbit hole you’ll definitely want to fall down!

I had really no idea what to expect when attending my first-ever drag show in Cambridge, and yet my expectations were far surpassed by the brilliance and wonders that were brought to the ADC stage last night. Playing with the theme of Alice in Wonderland, Dragtime!‘s ‘Curiouser and Curiouser’ managed to shock and defy predictions in that you truly never knew what was coming next.

This was largely down to the infectious energy of the cast, whose charisma, charms and smiles immediately electrified the audience, despite it being opening night; it was definitely the most responsive and enthralled that I have ever seen an audience be at the ADC. While this could be said to be down to the inherently interactive nature of drag shows, this went far and beyond simple response and applause: the audience went crazy at literally everything, giving resounding applause for some of the most talented individuals I’ve seen perform on the Cambridge stage, as well as to even when confetti was being swept up, or props were being moved. And I think this is a testament to the way in which the entire cast and crew of Dragtime! capture such a contagious joy and theatricality.

Image Credits: Jack Walker, Edited by: Griffin Twemlow.

A lot of credit has to be given to the incredible hosts of the show, Magic Dyke and Polonia Kowalski, who managed to maintain a high level of energy and humour at all points of the show. And this job is not to be underestimated, as spontaneous ad-libbing was just as funny as rehearsed jokes, meaning that there was never an awkward or silent moment on stage.

The duo also gave two of the most impressive solo performances: I don’t think I’ve ever seen as much energy on the ADC stage as during Polonia’s fiery and thrilling routine. She clearly gave her whole heart and soul to the performance, with cartwheels, acrobatics, and potentially the most lethal death drop I’ve ever seen. Magic Dyke’s pole routine was not only incredibly skilful and really beautiful but was also incredibly moving which was a nice moment of contrast with the joy and comedy that preceded them. A truly magnificent pair of queens, who lead the show with ease.

Image Credits: Jack Walker, Edited by: Griffin Twemlow.

And the quality does not dip when it comes to the other individual performers; what makes Dragtime! so incredible to watch is the high quality of the performances, which makes you really feel like you’re watching professionals. This is definitely the case even for newcomers PG Tits and The Thing of Hearts, who both made their Dragtime! debuts on the stage last night.
Out of all of the explicitly Alice in Wonderland-themed performances, PG Tits’ white rabbit routine was my favourite due to the clever ways it played on the theme of food and drink in the novel (you must see where they keep their tea bags – and it’s not where you’d expect), and as well as this it was a really excellent performance with high theatricality. Similarly, I was utterly mesmerised by The Thing of Hearts’ light display – I have honestly never seen anything like it on the ADC stage, and the skill with which they combined drag and expertly-crafted light choreography will stay with me for a long time.

Image Credits: Jack Walker, Edited by: Griffin Twemlow.

Speaking of things I’ve never seen in the ADC before, the uniqueness and innovation the following performers brought to the stage involved things I never could’ve imagined in my life. I mean, in what timeline is Cheshire Catboy performing on a hoop attached to a pole to ‘Bring Me To Life’ by Evanescence? One of my favourite concepts for a performance, and generally a really impressive display of some complex acrobatics and positions. Alchemy Volvelle brought a thrilling swordfight to the stage, with again some very impressive choreography displayed. I adored the concept that Prince Charles brought, with him playing a doll that only moves when the audience inserts a coin to power him up. With every new dance to a new song he brought, I loved the performance more and more.

Image Credits: Jack Walker, Edited by: Griffin Twemlow.

Apart from performances based in dance and choreography, two absolute gems in the show were in the terribly funny poetry of King Hoberon and Big C. The former’s poem about their mother had the audience in absolute bits, as a result of some wonderful punning combined with their general charm and aloof allure. As well as this, Big C’s poems that he had written to many of the people he had a crush on in his book club were incredibly well received by the audience, with his loveable shy character portraying this very well. It’s not every day that you hear a Pride and Prejudice-themed song on the stage!

Even in this brief overview of what you can expect from Dragtime!, you can tell that one of the show’s key strengths is its variety in performance, encouraging some really unique and fantastic talents to be taken onto the stage which, as Magic Dyke said, can only really happen in a theatre. I absolutely loved every second of it and was always waiting with anticipation for the next act, although an amazing energy translated even into the intervals between said acts. Most of all, you can tell all of the Queens and Kings and Things really enjoy what they do, and this level of joy, community and passion really comes through, especially in the group numbers.

All in all, I would say that Dragtime!’s production this week is undoubtedly unlike anything you’ve ever seen before, and therefore is unmissable in my eyes.


Dragtime! Presents: Curiouser and Curiouser is showing on the 1st – 4th of March at 23:00 at the ADC Theatre. Book your tickets here.

Feature image credits: Jack Walker, edited by Griffin Twemlow

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