Tag Archives: Soho Theatre

All I Want For Christmas Is Attention

★★★★★

O2 Forum Kentish Town

All I Want For Christmas Is Attention

All I Want For Christmas Is Attention

O2 Forum Kentish Town

Reviewed – 2nd December 2019

★★★★★

 

“one of the most outrageous, campy and risqué seasonal shows of the holiday season, and will no doubt put even the biggest Scrooge in the holiday spirit!”

 

Rising to fame through their respective successes on season five of RuPaul’s Drag Race, Jinkx Monsoon and BenDeLaCreme have teamed up for their second seasonal spectacular. All I Want For Christmas Is Attention has DeLa and Jinkx playing the odd couple, the former hellbent on maintaining the traditions of Christmases past while the latter has a more cynical (and alcohol-focused) approach to the holidays. Through song, dance and innuendo galore, the duo try to work out their differences and discover the true meaning of the festive holidays.

DeLa and Jinkx command the stage and keep the audience engaged throughout the show. The pair’s chemistry is excellent and even slight mistakes or hiccups are dealt with well and played for laughs. The only other character on stage is Nanog, the spirit of DeLa’s late (and slightly racist) Nana who has possessed and speaks through a glass of her famous eggnog. Conversations with Nanog provide some useful breathers for both the audience and the queens as well as practical time for costume changes and stage set-up.

Short infomercial-style videos are played between longer breaks. These show DeLa and Jinkx trying to secure a sponsor for their Christmas show before quickly realising that pretty much every company has blood on its hands. A humorous commentary on consumerist capitalist culture, the videos are also well shot with a clearly high production value.

Parodic songs form the bulk of the show and are as funny as they are clever. DeLa and Jinkx both sing live which is highly appreciated when many drag queens are prone to lip syncing. Songs parodied are both popular Christmas songs and recent chart-toppers. These include a song about being spoiled to the tune of Royals by Lorde, an adaptation of Baby, It’s Cold Outside to become God’s Own Child sung by Mary and the Angel Gabriel and Blame It On The Jews to the music of Lizzo’s Juice. The show closes with a song about how we are all bonded by trauma and stress during the festive period.

Other entertainment includes a comical dance to Sugar Plum Fairy while the pair are dressed as Santa and his sack, and Jinkx sharing ‘holiday snaps’ with the audience which are in fact stills from the 2019 horror film Midsommar about a violent cult.

DeLa and Jinkx wear a fabulous array of costumes. Opening the show in matching red and gold bow dresses, the duo wear everything from a dress that makes DeLa look like a giant floating Santa face, a Menorah-inspired headpiece and Star of David dress, showgirl-style pink sparkly numbers, and a sack that tears away to reveal a Christmas tree dress. You never know what the queens are going to come out in next which makes the performance all the more exciting.

The set is simple with a table with Nanog to the left and another set of table and chairs to the right. The large screen used to project images and play videos hangs above the centre of the stage. Some more Christmas decorations on the stage such as tinsel, fairy lights or even a tree would have given the set an extra tszuj, but the show itself more than makes up for this. The lighting is not particularly noteworthy except some poorly angled and blinding strobe lights that go out into the crowd.

All I Want For Christmas Is Attention is an excellent follow-up to BenDeLaCreme and Jinkx Monsoon’s highly successful Jesus, Thanks for Everything last year. Their new production is sure to be one of the most outrageous, campy and risqué seasonal shows of the holiday season, and will no doubt put even the biggest Scrooge in the holiday spirit!

 

Reviewed by Flora Doble

 


All I Want For Christmas Is Attention

O2 Forum Kentish Town

 

Last ten shows reviewed by Flora:
Black Chiffon | ★★★★ | Park Theatre | September 2019
Torch Song | ★★★★★ | The Turbine Theatre | September 2019
Art Heist | ★★★½ | New Diorama Theatre | October 2019
Children Of The Quorn | ★★★★★ | Pleasance Theatre | October 2019
Last Orders | ★★★ | Old Red Lion Theatre | October 2019
Smashing It! | ★★ | Bread & Roses Theatre | October 2019
Ugly | ★★★½ | Tristan Bates Theatre | October 2019
Don’t Frighten The Straights | ★★★ | King’s Head Theatre | November 2019
Escape From Planet Trash | ★★★ | Pleasance Theatre | November 2019
Sydney & The Old Girl | ★★★★ | Park Theatre | November 2019

 

Click here to see our most recent reviews

 

What Girls Are Made Of

★★★★

Soho Theatre

What Girls Are Made Of

What Girls Are Made Of

Soho Theatre

Reviewed – 12th September 2019

★★★★

 

“the story itself is nostalgic and heart-warming with a great soundtrack to boot”

 

Everyone has a fantasy of winning big; having your absolute pie-in-the-sky, never-in-a-million-years dream come true. But what happens after it does? On discovering the fearsome coolness of Patti Smith, young Cora decides she absolutely needs to sing in a band. So, she finds an ad in the local paper and does just that, and everything just seems to fall in to place. Ten gigs in and they’re already playing for all the biggest record label reps, and in no time they’re signed to Phonogram, on tour with the likes of Radiohead and Blur, trashing hotels and playing to 2,000-strong audiences. But after one bad review in NME, everything turns sour and Cora is left trying to work out what happens next.

Based on the actual events of Cora Bissett’s teenage years and directed by Orla O’Loughlin, What Girls Are Made Of charts the epic highs and crushing lows of quick fame, and the unforgiving nature of the industry, as well as the less romantic heartaches of life in general. The main message seems to be that few people’s lives glide along on an ever-ascending trajectory, and that a successful and full life is not defined by a lack of failure. This message is muddied in the ending’s slightly disappointing emphasis on the importance of being a mother, and passing the lessons down to the next generation, as though the rest of the story were only validated by her daughter’s existence. That being said it’s hard to argue with the plot seeing as it’s based on Bissett’s life – she did in fact want to be a mother, and she did succeed in doing so.

The design (Ana Inés Jabares-Pita) is a classic gig theatre set-up, and Bissett is joined on stage by her fellow band members, Simon Donaldson, Emma Smith and Harry Ward who also aid in her story, playing the parts of concerned parents, coked-up record label heads, shifty managers, and urm… Radiohead. The quality of musicianship is excellent, and the soundtrack takes us back to the rose-tinted memory of a teenager’s 90s – the Pixies, Nirvana, PJ Harvey, and of course Patti Smith.

Bissett is an endearing and engaging story teller and though there might have been a little more grit in a true tale of rock-and-roll, the story itself is nostalgic and heart-warming with a great soundtrack to boot.

 

Reviewed by Miriam Sallon

Photography by Mihaela Bodlovic

 


What Girls Are Made Of

Soho Theatre until 28th September

 

Last ten shows reviewed at this venue:
Angry Alan | ★★★★ | March 2019
Mouthpiece | ★★★ | April 2019
Tumulus | ★★★★ | April 2019
William Andrews: Willy | ★★★★★ | April 2019
Does My Bomb Look Big In This? | ★★★★ | May 2019
Hotter | ★★★★★ | May 2019
Citysong | ★★★★ | June 2019
The View Upstairs | ★★★ | July 2019
It All | ★★★ | August 2019
The Starship Osiris | ★★★★★ | August 2019

 

Click here to see our most recent reviews