Whips, Quips and a Whole Lotta Hips – Reviewing Dragtime! Presents: Hot Girl Midsommar

Thomas Hayes 29 October 2021
Image Credit: ADC

Not even the ADC 2-for-1 mimosas could numb the soreness of my hands after an hour of near-constant applause for the latest show from Cambridge’s premier drag troupe: Dragtime! Presents: Hot Girl Midsommar. Dragtime! veteran Magic Dyke (Griffin Twemlow) hosted and produced an energising lateshow that featured lip-syncs, live singing, stripteases, burlesque and spoken word performed by both old hands and debutants to the Cambridge drag scene.

Ensemble dance numbers opened and closed the show, though the most memorable and polished moments of the evening came from the individual performances where each of the ‘kings, queens and inbetweens’ had their chance to star. Some of the night’s highlights included Laura Saunders’ two acts – the first as drag king Alma Fella, and then as drag queen Irma Femme. Lip-syncing to ‘The Whole “Being Dead” Thing’ from Beetlejuice, and dressed as the titular character, Fella served brilliantly deranged facial expressions as a voiceover dragged from the bowels of hell roared ‘The Whole “Being a Drag King”’ over the original line in the song. Irma Femme fancied herself a singer and showed off an impressive belt in the final individual act that left the auditorium fizzing with energy before the closer.

Dragtime! favourite King Hoberon (Helena Fox) had the audience creasing with one of the most unique acts of the night, a character piece revolving around the fictional ‘Straight and Harrow’ podcast. Self-accompanied by flute jingles and a hilarious, superbly written spoken-word piece, Fox’s comedic intuition and sharp writing took centre stage. Audiences can expect not only to see familiar Dragtime! faces, but also talent new to the ADC stage. One such debutant was DismEmmber Stone (Celia Willoughby) whose Hollywood Starlet act combined burlesque and resounding live vocals. However, as Magic Dyke warned the audience, not all was as it seemed, and Stone wowed the audience with a particularly effective reveal.

A knee injury rendered Magic Dyke unable to showcase a planned pole dance routine, but the host-adapted and more than made up for the loss with a high voltage ‘sexy electrician’ act borrowed from a previous Dyke Dragtime! number. Lacing the acts together, Dyke’s experience was evident as the audience felt at ease and the energy of the room was maintained between the performances. Perhaps nothing sent the audience into more of a frenzy than the intermittent appearances of Assistant Stage Manager Elliot Aitken, who garnered wild applause each time he took to the stage to move set on and off. Aitken was not the only member of the technical team to get a shoutout mid-show: Mahon Hughes’ lighting design, as usual, was slick and well suited to each individual performance.

The show may have ended well into the night but I left the theatre with more energy than I entered it with, and the show proved to be well worth watching for sheer entertainment value. Hot Girl Midsommar was yet another reminder that Dragtime! is what? Fundamental.

Four stars

Dragtime! Presents: Hot Girl Midsommar will be running until Sat 30th October 2021 as the ADC Lateshow – tickets are available from £8.50-£10 at https://www.adctheatre.com/midsommar