Tag Archives: Harry Elletson

Pecsmas

★★★★★

The Yard Theatre

Pecsmas

Pecsmas

The Yard Theatre

Reviewed – 11th December 2019

★★★★★

 

even the most prudish will find themselves revelling in the show’s risqué holiday showcase”

 

Pecsmas is the Pecs Drag Kings’ new festive show following the incredible success of their theatrical cabaret SEX SEX MEN MEN earlier this year. Directed by Celine Lowenthal and produced by Ellen Spence and Daisy Hale, Pecsmas is a queer Christmas show like no other. Four of the group’s Kings take to the stage along with a different special guest performer each night to deliver a tantalisingly sexy show that challenges toxic masculinity while maintaining comedy at its core.

John Travulva (Jodie Mitchell), Thrustin Limbersnake (Lauren Steele), Scott Free (Rosie Potts) and Loose Willis (Katy Bulmer) are the stars of this fast-paced musical extravaganza. On 11 December, Afro-Latinx, non-binary drag king CHIYO also joined the Kings and performed an explosively raunchy striptease in which he started off wearing a suit adorned with a glittery ‘F**K BORIS’ and strutting around a briefcase that reads ‘Tory Tosser’.

The show opens with the Kings lip-syncing to East 17’s Stay Another Day before Travulva establishes himself as host and welcomes the audience. Adopting the name of Santa for the festivities, Travulva wears a red and white Santa robe and fake beard and does an excellent job engaging the crowd.

There are plenty of classic Christmas tunes. Free, wearing an Elvis wig and the King’s signature white suit, sings Blue Christmas and Limbersnake and Travulva close the show with a rendition of All I Want For Christmas Is You while dressed as polar bears (the pun on the gay slang term ‘bear’ very much intended). There is a rousing sing-a-long of a parody of Oh I Wish I Could Be Christmas Every Day – in this case, Oh I Wish That Every Christmas Could Be Gay – which is a great way to involve the audience.

Another iconic Christmas reference is a performance of the Plastics’ dance to Jingle Bell Rock from the movie Mean Girls. There is strong choreography (Lauren Steele) throughout the show and the cast do well to keep up with some pretty intense steps.

The show gets markedly more explicit in the second half. Limbersnake has perhaps the raciest dance of the night as he proclaims that he ‘loves being chunky’ before stripping down from his chef’s attire into a mankini while spraying whipped cream over his body. Willis also has a seductive number where he rolls around in a pile of trash dressed in an all green suit, wig and even dyed underarm hair to resemble the Grinch.

There are strong political themes that run throughout in part due to the upcoming election. From CHIYO’s performance to overt appeals to vote Labour, the Kings do not shy away from making their anger at the current establishment known. There is also a vague plot of Willis trying to discover why he is so unhappy in himself by visiting toxic masculinity past, present and future, and the Kings make sure to note that Christmas can be a difficult or sad time for many LGBT+ people as so much of the holiday revolves around seeing family.

The stage is fabulous though simple. Silver foil fringe curtains act as a backdrop and run along each side of the stage and four Christmas trees surrounded by presents decorate. The lighting (James Dawson) changes according to the mood and sultry reds and pinks are used for sexy numbers. There are few props (which Travulva jokes about) but this in no way hinders the performance.

Pecsmas is a thoroughly unique Christmas spectacular. The King’s confidence and presence on stage can only be admired and even the most prudish will find themselves revelling in the show’s risqué holiday showcase.

 

Reviewed by Flora Doble

Photography by Harry Elletson

 


Pecsmas

The Yard Theatre until 20th December

 

Last  ten shows reviewed at this venue:
Call it a Day | ★★★ | January 2019
Hotter Than A Pan | ★★★★ | January 2019
Plastic Soul | ★★★★ | January 2019
A Sea Of Troubles | ★★★★★ | February 2019
Cuteness Forensics | ★★½ | February 2019
Sex Sex Men Men | ★★★★★ | February 2019
To Move In Time | ★★½ | February 2019
Ways To Submit | ★★★★ | February 2019
Armadillo | ★★★★ | June 2019
Dirty Crusty | ★★★★ | November 2019

 

Click here to see our most recent reviews

 

Trigger Warning

★★★

Camden People’s Theatre

Trigger Warning

Trigger Warning

Camden People’s Theatre

Reviewed – 24th October 2019

★★★

 

“has an interesting premise, but ultimately, it is a bit hit-and-miss”

 

The notion being ‘triggered’ is certainly a hot topic of cultural and artistic debate. ‘Trigger Warning’ tackles this head on, as audience members are guided through a minefield of possible triggers for their upcoming performance of ‘Hope’. The play is a mix of elements reminiscent of ‘The Play That Goes Wrong’ and David Attenborough’s ‘Planet Earth’, combined together in what certainly is a statement piece.

Audiences are directly addressed from the very beginning by a duo of energetic and some-what frazzled flight attendants, played by Kath Duggan and Daniel Hay-Gordon. The play itself is structured in two halves; the first consists of audiences being prepped for the story ahead called ‘Hope’ which may or may not ever take place. Warnings include that it may make us feel a certain way, including boredom and frustration. The directorial decisions by Natasha Nixon are very strong, as the performers use clowning and voice-overs to tremendous comedic effect. Duggan and Hay-Gordon’s knowing glances, elastic facial expressions and needless faffing about with failing props make for a series of guaranteed laughs. The beginning sequence is inexplicably hilarious: however, this is unfortunately short-lived.

The second section, in which the play ‘Hope’ takes place, is incredibly confusing and loses the momentum that had been set by the strong opening. Audiences are then told of the story of ‘Hope’, a young migrant who was crossing the border. The narrative is unclear as we are told to read a ‘synopsis’ that we had not been given. This is clearly ironic, but it is then followed by Duggan and Hay-Gordon staring at the audience for five minutes whilst elevator music plays. Nixon’s direction in the second half loses the sense of pace and energy created in the first twenty minutes of action. It does, however, fulfil the trigger warning given of creating feelings of boredom and frustration.

The play’s design (Lily Arnold) is striking yet satisfying. Bold pastel colours frame the stage and costumes. Sound (Owen Crouch) and lighting effects (Amy Daniels) feature very heavily throughout. In particular, we never hear Hay-Gordon’s character speak, he lip-syncs all his lines. The most exciting design element is on the audience’s entry to the space, as we see Duggan struggling to pull a huge pink carpet through what appeared to be a side window. It is a spectacle made by the illusion that the window was going directly into the street. Concepts of the space itself are reversed, as we entered through the fire exit outside the theatre and exited through the entrance. It is details like these that summarises the play’s irreverent playfulness.

This play has an interesting premise, but ultimately, it is a bit hit-and-miss. This dark comedy teeters around the edges of offence and acceptability. However, it is done so in a way that is so conceptual that it often leaves the viewer completely perplexed.

 

Reviewed by Emily Morris

Photography by Harry Elletson

 

Camden People's Theatre

Trigger Warning

Camden People’s Theatre until 9th November

 

Last ten shows reviewed at this venue:
Asylum | ★★★ | November 2018
George | ★★★★ | March 2019
Mojave | ★★★ | April 2019
Human Jam | ★★★★ | May 2019
Hot Flushes – The Musical | ★★★ | June 2019
Form | ★★★★★ | August 2019
Muse | ★★ | August 2019
Ophelia Rewound | ★★★★ | August 2019
The Indecent Musings Of Miss Doncaster 2007 | ★★★½ | August 2019
A Haunted Existence | ★★★★ | October 2019

 

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