Meth's Apples and Pears || Drag Show Review #2
Good day, good morning, good evening (Camden), come on in and make yourselves comfortable. It’s me, back with another drag show review because I go to entirely too many and genuinely don’t do anything else with my life. These are the choices I have made, and the decisions I must stick with. Anyway. I must apologise because this is the first of two reviews coming your way this week, but I do so enjoy writing these and I can do what I want.
First things first. I feel like I must inform you that I’m writing this while listening to Cher’s new album of ABBA covers for about the fiftieth time (it’s so good - if you haven’t heard it, fix that immediately before you read any further), so I really am having the campest of times. And trying really hard not to bop in the office, because I already have a reputation for not being entirely normal and I don’t need to give them any concrete evidence. But it’s so hard not to bop to Cher’s version of Waterloo.
Right, we’ve gotten entirely off topic. Apples and Pears. That’s the name of Meth’s (drag queen, not crystal) newest cabaret night in this darling little queer run pub in Clerkenwell. The launch show took place on Saturday night, and of course I could not miss it. All the Her Upstairs orphans, plus incredible burlesque artist Lilly Snatchdragon were performing, and it was just a delight. I loved every single second, which will not come as a surprise to anyone.
Not only was it the launch show, but it was also Meth’s 30th (nearly wrote 20th - she wishes. Probably not actually, being 20 is horrendous) birthday celebrations. So many of the people there were regular Her Upstairs attendees before the sad demise of the venue, and so the whole show just had the best familial atmosphere, despite way too many people being crammed into an entirely too small space. But if you can’t drip armpit sweat onto strangers, who can you drip armpit sweat on to?
Anyway. Meth. She performed three different numbers throughout the night, two golden oldies and one new number to open the first two parts of the show, and then finally to bring in her 30th birthday in the best possible way. She started with one of my favourite ever numbers - Adele’s ‘Hello’ interspersed with other songs containing similar hello themed lyrics. You can picture the carnage. It’s hilarious, and ridiculous, and it never gets old. Her second number, composed of various Disney villain soundbites mixed with the song ‘Trouble’. Honestly, if you never see another Meth performance this is the best one. Yes. It might be because I love Disney villains. But it’s genuinely just incredible. Her third and final song of the night, performed just after midnight to bring in her 30th birthday the right way, was a new number all about surviving. 2017 hasn’t been an easy year for anyone, and I know I wasn’t the only one who felt the cathartic pleasure of singing a mix of all the survival songs out there as Meth gave it her all on stage. It was bloody brilliance at its finest, and the absolute best way to finish out the evening.
Besides Meth, there were a lot of other performers. 11 of the fuckers, I think. Maybe. Maths has never been and will never my strong suit, which is why I’ll always be writing words for pennies and will never make my millions.
The first two performers to hit the (extremely small, was worried at times that someone would fall and break their neck) stage were Tayce and Cara Melle. Two of the most high energy, camp, stunning performers in London. And it’s a sign of how much I don’t know pop culture that I couldn’t even begin to tell you the names of the songs they performed to. I know. I’m sorry. If it isn’t the Schindler’s List theme tune composed by John Williams, or anything from Six the musical, I’m unlikely to know it. What I can tell you is that they were incredible despite the staging limitations (and they are not small people). They truly turned the party and got the night started. I love them. I’m completely intimidated by them. Cara Melle lost a titty. Brilliance.
Second up were two of my all time absolute favourites - Flynn Rideher and Glew. Flynn is an incredible drag king who was making his return to the stage after a small break, and boy was it good to see him back in all his glittery finest. He sang a lovely rendition of that chick’s Raise Your Glass. Was it Kesha, back when she was Ke$ha? I don’t remember. I could google it, but I’m not going to. You all know the song. We all knew the song. Flynn knew most of the song. It was excellent, and I enjoyed every second. (Edit: I have been reliably informed once again by a good friend that it was in fact sung by Pink when she was P!nk, and not Kesha when she was Ke$ha. Easy to confuse, if you ask me.)
Glew was up next, and Glew sang. I say sang. I’m impressed that there were still windows left when she was finished. Although it was absolutely hilarious. She did a rendition of Take My Breath Away - but not just any rendition. An asthmatic rendition, complete with inhaler and paper bag. I laughed so hard I thought I wouldn’t stop coughing, which had a nice sense of irony to it. She’s an excellent performer, and looked delicious in a red velvet gown with flowers in her hair.
Now. This is when my memory of the order of the evening gets a little hazy and I completely forget who went where, but we’ll keep going. I might even have it right.
I think this is where the evening took a sombre turn. I debated whether or not to include this, but I feel I need to. I don’t know if you remember in March last year when a group of 15 chained themselves to a charter flight to stop a planeful of people being deported back to countries where they would have been unsafe, but today (1st October) their trial starts, and they’re being charged with terror related offences. Meth invited Ben, one of the 15, onto the stage to tell his story, tell some of the people on the flights story, and raise money to cover their costs for the next 6-8 weeks as the trial goes on. If you want to keep up with their story, google ‘Stanstead 15’ and look through the news tab, and you can also donate to them here.
After this, Cheryl Hole took to the stage and brought the mood of the evening back up again. Cheryl is an incredible performer and can dance her socks off. She did Judas by Lady Gaga, and despite having seen it before she blew me away once again. Mostly, I was just impressed at how much she managed to move on the tiny stage, although she is not the biggest of people. She was also celebrating her recent engagement to fiance Hole, so that was cute. Ah, people in love. Isn’t it delightful? I did get a little footage of Cheryl, so I’ll stick it in and you can see what I mean. Incredible. Orange. Stunning. Very good at moving her hair around.
After another break (my memory truly is shot to bits because I thought there were only three parts to the show but it turns out there were four - I think - did Meth do anything else I don’t know) in which I spent the entire time outside because the venue was so hot and crowded, it was time for Ophelia Love, Joy Less (formerly known as Knockout) and HERR to take to the stage. Not at the same time. Although, that would be complete and utter carnage and I would pay good money for that. Ophelia did a number I haven’t seen in a while, inspired by Hermione Granger from that little known kids book and movie series. It’s such a good number, and it’s always good fun to see if she’ll get the wand (straw) movements right. It’s basically iconic Hermione soundbites interspersed with a song that I forget the name of but is a real bop. I love it.
Joy Less - clad in blazer, beret, fishnets, and tiny shorts - did most of her set through a megaphone. I don’t think she meant to use the megaphone. But she did. She also forgot most of the words, forgot how to count to four, and finished with an interesting rendition of a Morrissey song. I laughed so much I cried, and it was genuinely made all the funnier because she messed up so much of it. HERR rounded out this act, and after creeping through the window behind Meth as she was talking, she came on and did her newest Yzma inspired number, which I have now seen three times and love even more every time she does it. Yes, I do go to too many shows. No, I wouldn’t be surprised if they took out a restraining order against me.
And so the night endeth, after a long break (which was really no change to usual) with a performance from the incredible Kitty Scott Claus, and the real headline act - Lilly Snatchdragon. Kitty, clad in a delightful black leotard number, took her square hips to the stage to do her These Boots Were Made For Walking lipsync, complete with voice excerpts from various comedies like Melissa McCarthy in Bridesmaids, and Rebel Wilson in that movie she did. It’s so funny. I love that number so much. Kitty is a truly brilliant performer.
Lilly was the perfect finishing act (well - Meth came after but details) to an incredible night. She’s an AFAB performer, and one of the best burlesque artists ever. E v e r. It’s always a privilege to see her perform, and her burlesque routine to Alaska Thunderfuck’s ‘Nails’ was just incredible. She did a glove reveal. It was insane. I loved every second of it. If you see no one else perform, get yourself to a Lilly Snatchdragon show, because you will not regret it.
God, I loved this show so much. Even the rendition of Happy Birthday at the end of the show, which is a dire song in anyone’s eyes. It was so cute though. I’m so glad that Apples and Pears will be every other Saturday at The Apple Tree in Clerkenwell, and so I highly recommend you get yourself there. It’s an easy walk from Kings Cross! It’s a Saturday! It’s cheap! Tickets will be on Outsavvy or on the door.
Don’t miss the next one on the 13th. I’ll be there (obviously).