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The student newspaper of Imperial College London

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Felix

Issue 1762
The student newspaper of Imperial College London


Keep the Cat Free


Death Drop during a pandemic

Arts editor Eamon Akil Farhat braves COVID fears to bring to you yet another review from The West End

Arts

in Issue 1762

Musical

Death Drop: A Dragatha Christie Murder-Mystery

★ ★ ★ ★ ★
Where
Garrick Theatre
When
3rd Mar - 28th Mar, 2021
Cost
From £20
1  Louis Cyfer Kemah Bob Courtney Act Vinegar Stokes Holly Stars Anna Phylactic Monet X Change Matt Crockett Photo: Matt Crockett
From left to right: LoUis CYfer, Kemah Bob, Courtney Act, Vinegar Stokes, Holly Stars, Anna Phylactic, Monet X Change

On an eerily busy, post-November-lockdown-now-tier-2 London afternoon, I finally was off to see my first show since the start of this long global pandemic: Death Drop, a drag musical! Thinking back to those busy scenes in Fortnum and Mason as I picked up the extremely important tea my mother wanted, I can very much understand why we are where we are today: lockdown #3. 

Being my first theatre trip since we were allowed to hug our grandparents, I was acutely aware of all the new COVID-19 considerations which were in place. One seat free between groups, and mostly every other row was occupied. You could not put coats or bags on these chairs as these had to be sanitized, explained the ushers-turned-covid-police about 56 times to different groups. Masks were, of course, on at all times, and the same usher would actually tell people who were drinking wine to “sip then mask back on please”. The point I am trying to make is that this felt much safer that the masses of people spilling out of pubs with masks off in Soho on a Saturday night during the pandemic and yet theatre has seldom been prioritized as a COVID-19 safe place to reopen at different points over the last few months. 

Marketed as a drag murder mystery, the plot, not that it really matters, focuses on a soirée organised by Lady Von Fistenburg (Vinegar Strokes) on Tuck island in honour of the Prince and Princess of Wales’ 10th wedding anniversary as the “happiest couple in the world”. The guests, many alluding to well-known figures, have all mysteriously been invited but have never met. When they start getting killed off one by one, a comical whodunnit story ensues.  

The characters, all played by amazing drag queens and kings are the real pull of the show. Of course, there are the big names: Monét X Change playing a stunning weather girl from across the pond, Summer Raines, and Courtney Act playing a washed-up Australian popstar, Shazza. Then we have an evil tabloid editor, Morgan Pierce, played by Anna Phylactic and drag king, Kemah Bob, playing the sleazy TV Producer called Phil Maker. All these kings and queens showed off their charisma, uniqueness, nerve, and talent but a couple of them really stood out. 


5  Courtney Act Louis Cyfer Matt Crockett Photo: Matt Crockett
Courtney Act and LoUis CYfer

Firstly, if the other queens were a bag of laughs, drag king, LoUis CYfer, was most definitely a truck of hilarity. He played the character Rich Whiteman, the MP for Uxbridge, who in fact always introduced himself that way. The fumbling, bumbling voice and posture of a certain PM of ours was executed brilliantly by this drag performer. This character is definitely one that can be done by many but the perfection and humour brought to it by LoUis CYfer was beyond words. 

Another drag queen that must get a special mention is Holly Stars who played three different characters: the Bottomley triplets: Brie, Blue and Spread (their mothers was a cheese lover). These three charmingly northern sisters were in charge of preparing the feast with hilarious disasters following them wherever they go. Nonetheless, they keep cheery and welcome the fancy guests with open arms.  

The references in this play are very much rooted in the 90s, with mushroom vol-au-vents, cheese & pineapple hedgehog, and Viennetta being served to the guests. This was a decade that I only experienced for a few months so some of the jokes were lost on me but the audience lapped it all up. The other big bucket of references was to drag culture, for example setting the dinner in Shantay Manor on Tuck Island. At times some of the cheesy drag jokes felt like an acting challenge on RuPaul’s Drag Race. But other than those few moments, like Monet doing the classic feinted death drop, the show did not overly pander to the TV audience.  

Overall, whether you are a real 90s baby, a drag fan, or neither, you will definitely find this funny. Drag performers accustomed to performing in front of tough audiences in clubs up and down the country every night in non-pandemic-times brought their quick wit and improv skills to this funny West End show. Covid wise, the theatre was pretty safe, except for the interval, turning the aisles into the smoking area at Heaven with everyone mingling and making pandemic friends.

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