Björn Of The Dead – 4 Stars


Björn Of The Dead

Royal Vauxhall Tavern

Reviewed – 11th April 2018


“Charmingly rough around the edges”


We are greeted with a goody bag complete with gory tattoos and sweets in the shapes of eyeballs – always a good way to start. We also have to choose a sticker that connotes which member of Swedish pop group, ‘ABBA’, we want to be for the night. I end up with Anni-Frid, or “the other one” as she ends up being designated.

Our host tonight is the wonderful Baby Lame who enters in a sequin dress and red boots and immediately starts a call and response. “Pop”, she shouts. “Horror”, we shout back. Baby Lame is the perfect host, witty, sharp and apparently incapable of taking herself too seriously. She carries the night, infectiously funny and instantly likeable.

This is, according to Baby Lame, the only night in London where the audience pays to see acts die onstage. Chloe Rose as Kathy Bates is our first act up. “Don’t go wasting your emotion,” she sings, as her eyes get steadily more manic until she is licking blood off an axe. “Appropriately f*cked up,” as Baby Lame deems it. Next up, “a bit of masculinity on this stage” (again the words of Baby Lame). Adam All, drag king extraordinaire, enters in a white lab coat and red accessories, thrusting to the music. Soon there’s a blow up doll onstage and matching pairs of boxers covered in hearts, is it love? All to the tune of “Gimme, gimme, a man after midnight”, of course. Apple Derrières looks idyllic from the neck down and manic from the neck up, and her expression is impossible to take your eyes off throughout the night. Oedipussi Rex, wearing a fantastically creative version of the Amanda trap from the ‘Saw’ films, is the last of the solo acts and finishes with a healthy dose of eye gouging to reveal glittering red sockets, and is one of the highlights of the night.

Apple Derrières and Adam All finish the show with a love duet as Dracula and a blushing damsel, which (if you haven’t guessed it) ends in Apple Derrières’ blood being thoroughly drained. There are even games throughout the night, my favourite of which involved guessing whether the word projected onto a screen on the stage was a real place in Sweden or a piece of IKEA furniture – surprisingly difficult it turns out!

The night is riddled with tech difficulties and miscommunications, but everything was handled with such warmth, fun and optimism that the mistakes were more endearing than problematic. Furthermore, in a scene that is typically dominated by drag queens, it is refreshing and exciting to see such a range of acts on stage, and testament should be made to how welcome and inclusive the Royal Vauxhall Tavern feels tonight.

Charmingly rough around the edges, ‘Bjorn of the Dead’ is a creative and fun celebration of ABBA’s greatest hits, drag, burlesque and horror films all rolled into one. Who could resist?


Reviewed by Amelia Brown


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Björn Of The Dead

Royal Vauxhall Tavern


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