Review: Dragtime! Speed Date

Alex Sorgo 16 February 2018

Dragtime! is back at the ADC, and boy is it welcome. Hot on the stiletto heels of Valentine’s Day, our local drag Kings and Queens are here to help poor Alex find himself a bride–think Blind Date, à la 21st century.

In typical drag fashion, we are introduced to our host(ess) with the most(est) through two classic divas–Bonnie Tyler and Lady Gaga. Flanked by two amazing backing dancers (luckily, there’s more of them later), the audience cannot help but be drawn in by her playful twist on drag queen stereotypes, ‘forgetting’ her lyrics as the dancers wave a dildo and a flashlight around.

The fun continues with a host of other eligible bachelors and bachelorettes–there’s Miss Regina Rex, who stole Dorothy’s shoes to win Alex’s heart; Big Mac, who goes all out on a comic rendition of the ‘Titanic’ classic, using every instrument of your primary school nightmares in their bid; and Tesco Express, the hoover fetishist who loves to kick back after a hard day’s work to a bit of Britney (who wouldn’t?).

Some of the evening’s most notable characters tackle the topical and the truly comical. Sneezee belts out Adele’s ‘Hello’, but saves us from the boredom of hearing the song for the millionth time by choosing a new subject to call a thousand times–the naive girls from ‘Scream’, who can’t seem to get a good signal no matter how hard they try. This was, perhaps, the best act of the night, as the raucous laughter proved that this was a queen who really could put the ‘act’ in ‘drag act’. Every emotion was exaggerated, every action repeated, yet it never felt tired or too much. Passion, drama, bitter sorrow: here was the full gamut of feelings, as the audience came to realise they’d never see Adele–or a horror film–in the same way ever again.

Our next competitor was Big Mac, who whipped out the recorder, the kazoo and the violin to woo poor Alex. Alas, it was not to be. Though Big Mac’s X-Factor style performance provided bellyaches aplenty, it was no sweet music on the ears, as the backing dancers ears bled until they fainted, and Mac found herself duly carted off. Still, at least she was better than Celine Dion.

The final great act of the night did, of course, have a slight political bias. Fresh from running through farmers’ fields, Brit Annia/Theresa May arrived for her Brexiteer-only ‘First Date’ date with a charming South Thanet local. Described as a woman whose roleplay shows ‘Brexit really does mean Brexit’, she made a strong and steady claim on the audience’s attention. Unlike her real-life political counterpart, she increased her majority over the audience, completely in raptures. What better way is there to spend an evening than watching May unleash her true self as a modern-day Britannia?

As the night’s events came to a close, it was time for Alex to make his choice, though not without a last-minute entry from the hostess herself. Singing Audrey’s ‘Somewhere That’s Green’, her impassioned bid for marriage, children, and a Nuvaring leaves Alex stunned. Though the acts have one final ensemble number, the would-be lovers chase each other round the stage, providing the evening’s final moment of comedy as they end up in each others’ arms–for as long as they both shall live.

Dragtime: Speed Date is a fast-paced, laugh-a-minute show that brings some much-needed glam to the grey skies of Cambridge. With a run-time of 70 minutes, you’ll soon see how the time will fly by, especially when you’re having this much fun.