Review: Dragtime!

Melody Lewis 18 February 2022
Image Credit: Maria Woodford, Griffin Twemlow

The Dragtime! show has been a firm institution as the ADC Lateshow for many years now, and after watching this term’s offerings, it is easy to see why. Yet again the audience were treated to a multitude of fantastic performances from the weird, whacky, and wonderful world of Cambridge drag. Dragtime! veteran Magic Dyke (Griffin Twemlow) hosted the night’s performance with ease, accompanied by a Dragtime! returnee, the delightful Persephone Porcelynn (Nik Pope).

The show opened with a breath-taking group dance number, highlighting the sheer talent of not only the performers themselves but also of the backstage crew and production team, as the lights, music, and costumes added the final finishing touch that made an already spectacular performance sparkle that little bit more. As the title of this term’s show suggests, the evening became progressively more unhinged, until a descent into total and gleeful madness. The night started with a bang, with a powerful performance from Dragtime! superstar Irma Femme (Laura Saunders), and a dance party extravaganza from relative newcomer to the scene Polonia Kowalski (Patryk Wiśniewski). We were then graced by the presence of not one, not two, but four (!) of Cambridge’s finest drag kings. Sleazy, sexy, and everything in between, the kings tore up the stage with their wonderful acts, from the seductive Bert I’m A Cheerleader (Lily Laffan) to the dulcet tones of Ambrose Rose’s (Nadia Lines) finest poetry and Sir Evervane’s -profound- rendition of Lemon Demon’s ‘Two Trucks’. A particular star performance came from Big C (Charli Foreman) and his heartfelt explosion of love for all things manly in ‘It’s My Man Cave, Dave’.

Image Credit: Frank Wilson

As the night progressed I began to wonder if I slipped into a Cambridge-induced fever dream of sorts, as the last thing I had expected to see when I entered the theatre that night was our -beloved- home secretary, there in all her glory, rendered in perfect caricature as Pretty Patel by the wonderful Kalyan Mitra. Pretty’s performance had the audience cackling, with her exquisite display encompassing lip syncing, Priti’s very own words, and a particularly moving dance interpretation of ‘Go Home’.

A particularly stand-out performance came from the marvellous Annie Biotic (James Coe) and her tantalising lyrical treat warning of the dangers of the Cambridge dating scene. Everything from the costume, to the makeup, to the wonderfully polished performance, made Annie’s act a firm audience favourite. After last term’s injury, it was a delight to see Magic Dyke back on his pole, working the stage with familiarity, poise, and a whole lotta flexibility. The performance was well-choreographed, funny, and most importantly H-O-T with a capital H. The sexy electrician trope is one I am sure we can all get behind, and Magic Dyke worked the audience into a frenzy, showing astonishing prowess with the pole.

Image Credit: Frank Wilson

Dragtime! is a beautiful celebration of the rich and thriving queer scene in Cambridge, and it is impossible to leave the theatre miserable when coming to watch one of their performances. The thing I love most about Dragtime! is the overwhelming sense of community I feel radiating from the performers themselves: they truly love and care about every single one of their acts, and even about the audience! Dragtime! is not only a drag show, it is also a show about love, inclusivity, and a radical acceptance of every single person in the room.

4/5 Stars

Dragtime! Presents: Unhinged will be running until Saturday 19th February as the ADC Lateshow. Tickets are available here from £8.50-£11 

https://www.adctheatre.com/whats-on/play/dragtime-presents-unhinged/