With the seemingly ever-increasing media promotion of a certain ex-club kid and his Drag franchise, Drag Queens have arguably never had a higher mainstream profile. Sadly this is less so, I find, for Drag Kings.
With less exposure to Drag King shows, I did wonder if for Pecs: Christmas Queer, the muses might have been left to run wild and free however they saw fit and our Christmas this year might be lifted by some unexpected, boundary-pushing performances – even within the theme of the holiday season.
Or of course, it’s entirely possible to offer up a show that keeps more to the accessible and ‘safe for work’ end of cabaret. With actual – not a metaphor or anything of the sort – charades.
The performances themselves are executed to a high standard and we’re treated to lip syncs, dance routines (group and individual) and stripteases amongst other things and during these it’s plain to see the commitment the cast have to every character and performance, making them a genuine joy to watch. But they are all arguably a little bit safe.
No boundaries were harmed in the making of this performance.
Not to say that this isn’t quality entertainment – far from it. With a queer interpretation of Santa leading the audience and cast on a journey to reclaim lost Christmas Spirit, this is a charming, welcoming and overall uplifting series of performances and the ‘Christmas Carol’ model of segue into the various acts is effective at keeping the pace of the show consistently high throughout.
The thing is, while much of the show is done in fourth-wall-destroying direct address interspersed with some cast dialogue, the message offered up is a pretty predictable one. Unity within the queer community, anti-patriarchy and anti-capitalism are all things, I support but it still feels a little like low-hanging fruit and sadly not offered up in a very unexpected or innovative way.
The positive message becomes a bit kitsch in the end and I find myself hoping for a little sarcasm, some good-natured ribbing or a bit of audience heckling by the compere to balance the show out.
Good, wholesome, positive shows can be few and far between and with a difficult year now thankfully largely behind us, a bit of positivity is quite possibly something we could all benefit from. Pecs could have pushed the boundaries a bit more for my taste and with a talented, enthusiastic, engaging cast, some changes to the material could have made this show a stand out where sadly on the night it just slightly missed the mark.
Review by Damien Russell
The Kings of Pecs have been queerantined up in our castle but now it’s time to Pec the halls because we’re back in town and we want to spread the Christmas Queer.
Join us in our cosy cabaret grotto while we bring you some of our greatest festive hits, queermas tales and sexy socially distanced dances.
Put some Christmas Queer in your stocking filler!
Pecs Drag Kings are an all-female and non-binary theatre and cabaret company who’ve been creating critically acclaimed shows for the LGBTQ+ community since 2013. Through our drag king cabarets and theatre shows, we explore gender identities, politics & sexuality, to create cultural space for queer women, trans* & non-binary folk. Our shows are sexy, raucous and highly entertaining, using songs, dances and comedy to celebrate inclusivity, queerness & community.
Pecs: Christmas Queer
Pecs Drag Kings
10th Dec 2020 – 12th Dec 2020
Main House Cabaret – Pleasance London
Suitable for ages 16 and above