Tag Archives: Jac Cooper

Fame Whore

Fame Whore


King’s Head Theatre

FAME WHORE at the King’s Head Theatre



Fame Whore

“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:


Tender Napalm | ★★★★★ | October 2021
Beowulf: An Epic Panto | ★★★★ | November 2021
Freud’s Last Session | ★★★★ | January 2022
La Bohème | ★★★½ | May 2022
Brawn | ★★ | August 2022
The Drought | ★★★ | September 2022



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No Place Like Home,

No Place Like Home


Edinburgh Festival Fringe

NO PLACE LIKE HOME at Edinburgh Festival Fringe



No Place Like Home,


“fresh, unique and totally compelling”


No Place Like Home, written and performed by Alex Roberts, fuses music, dance, spoken word and video design to explore gay club culture and the impact of shame on queer identity and community. Roberts performs a visceral, lyrical text, telling the story of young gay man Connor who meets Rob, an older gay guy who works on the bar at a local club. Connor is fresh to the scene with less experience and is looking for guidance. Maybe Rob will be able to help with that. But having a healthy relationship with your sexuality and even potential partners is hard when the spaces you need are difficult to find.

Roberts’ text is beautifully nuanced, witty, funny and deeply emotional. He practically sings through parts of it, creating a lovely rapport with the audience. This pays off hugely as the story progresses and things become darker; more vulnerable. By the end of the show, Roberts’ face is smudged with tears; the music, movement and story all build to a difficult climax. Still, there is ambiguity in the text, and the show is less a preachy message singing to the converted, rather instead exploring the complexities of queer sex culture.

Video sometimes feels like an add-on, or a replacement for set which doesn’t always work, but that’s definitely not the case here. Virginie Taylor’s video design in this is superb. It’s a vital part of the storytelling. Human bodies dance and rave, immersing Roberts in the club space, with flashes of neon-coloured lights and sparkles. Roberts effortlessly transitions between the two central characters, the flick of his cap and adjustments to his voice and body language making the switch. Connor is light and vulnerable. Rob is tougher, more grounded and confident.

Underneath the smoke, and Jac Cooper’s electric sound design and composition, is an exploration of the play’s title; a question of what or where is home, as we witness Connor’s attempt to find it. At one moment, during the club’s stripping contest, Roberts removes his shorts and jacket to reveal a Dorothy dress underneath. The imagery of Dorothy clicking her heels appears at another moment, projected onto the background. It’s a clear motif that runs really nicely throughout the show.

At the risk of telling a story that’s been told many times before, Roberts avoids this by presenting something fresh, unique and totally compelling. He’s a brilliant storyteller, and the blend of artforms in this show makes it very special indeed.


Reviewed 10th August 2022

by Joseph Winer



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