FAME WHORE at the King’s Head Theatre
“It’s an interesting premise, and a great format in theory.”
There have been plenty of meditations on the problems with social media and influencers. And there have been plenty of stories told about the ugly truth behind fame. Fame Whore has as stab at both. And though we’ve seen these ideas many times before, there’s a complexity and messiness to this one which sticks with me on my journey home, and which ultimately makes it worth a watch.
Becky Biro is a hard-working drag artist, showcasing her sass and silly song-writing across the city. But she finds herself caught between wanting to do the right thing and promote the rights of the underrepresented, and being completely and utterly selfish, taking what she feels she deserves without consequence.
Having been rejected from Drag Factor year after year, she decides the only way she’ll be accepted is by gaining an undeniably massive and committed social media following. But how to go about it?
The show is split in to two main chunks: ‘1. Becky Biro is a good person and all of this just happened to her’, and ‘2. Becky is a total bitch, and this is what she really did’. It’s a great way to split up the narrative: first we get to know Becky, we’re on her side. Then we get down to the gritty truth.
This is the kind of drag I love, on a shoe-string budget, but with plenty of extra touches to keep our campy spirits up. A brilliant nod to Drag-Race star Sasha Velour’s shaking out her wig to reveal raining petals is a particular highlight.
Alys Whitehead’s design- a mirrored floor, a colour-changing ring light, and a glittery blue curtain- set the scene, but ultimately, Gigi Zahir is the show. Zahir, aka Crayola the Queen, is magnetic as fame-hungry Becky. Touting shallow nonsense- “Beckly Biro is delicious and good tasting but also nutritious. It’s not just donuts for dinner!”- so fluently, it’s as though the person behind the drag has been completely lost under that enormous blue wig. But Zahir is also a dab hand at dropping the façade abruptly, if only for a moment, so that we see the honest, whimpering desperation.
It’s an interesting premise, and a great format in theory. The trouble is, it’s a half hour too long, and ends up being a bit of a drag. Whilst Zahir is fabulous, and writer Tom Ratcliffe has moments of charming vitriol, the story just isn’t really meaty enough for 90 minutes straight through.
Reviewed on 11th October 2022
by Miriam Sallon
Photography by Charles Flint Photography
Previously reviewed at this venue: