The Tuckshop 4 || Drag Review #11
Welcome to review 2 of 4 this week. Wait, no. 2 of 5. Apples and Pears, Tuckshop, Speakeasy, comedy night, Gals Aloud Manchester. Maths is not my strong point. Although I might combine Wednesday and Thursday, because believe it or not I don’t want to bore you. But this is my blog, I can do what I want, and reviewing drag shows is easy content and the chance to make stupid jokes. Plus, I get to write about what I love - drag - and the people I love - drag performers. Winning all round, if you ask me.
Anyway. The Tuckshop! And yes, I have been to every Tuckshop since the very beginning. Which was not that long ago. Even that one where I left after the first act to get the last tube home. I was still there! Like some weird stalker who shows up and then writes about it - although apparently people do like the reviews, which is a relief because I kind of just throw them out into the world and hope that no-one hates me. I really hope no-one hates me. I just want people to like me, alright?
Off track again. I love The Tuckshop. Run by Tuck Shop Management, it always features a stellar line up of kings and queens - including the Tuckshop Babes, and an incredible headline act. Last night we were lucky enough to have HERR the host bring us Kitty Scott-Claus, and the incredible LoUis CYfer to the stage. We all know how much love and appreciation I have for HERR and Kitty, they’ve featured here enough and I’ve waxed lyrical about their talents, but I was thrilled to be able to see LoUis CYfer again.
One of the best kings on the London/UK/world/universe circuit, LoUis is one of my favourite performers and definitely one I don’t get out to see enough. I first saw him take to the stage as the villainous King Rat in Her Upstairs’ (RIP, never be forgotten, etc etc) panto ‘Dick and his Pussy’ last year, which tops the leaderboard for the most ridiculous thing I have ever seen. And I’ve seen some ridiculous things in my time.
Talking about ridiculous - our hostess, HERR. She knows all about ridiculous, and that is why I adore her. She’s also being experimenting with her makeup recently, and took to the stage last night in a gorgeous glittery eye and some delightful brows - and wore the most delightful white jacket and trouser combo with plastic glitter shoes that were very Cinderella-esque. An absolute vision, if you ask me. You didn’t. Anyway. HERR began the show with her iconic Molly Weasley number - soundbites from the mother figure we all wanted mixed with Jessie J’s ‘Mamma Knows Best’. I did just google that, because despite having written about it more than once before, I never knew what the song was. Perfect song for a perfect character done perfectly by a perfect drag queen.
HERR also debuted a new number. I love when HERR debuts new material, because you never know quite where she’s going to go with it. The joy of the moment comes in listening to the song and trying to figure out what direction this might take - but you will never get it right. Last night’s new number started with Kylie’s ‘I Believe in You’.
Place your bets now as to where this went.
Have you guessed it? First - that clip of Lady Gaga from that new film I don’t remember the name of (possibly - definitely got something to do with it) talking about how if there’s ‘100 people in the room you only need 1 to believe in you’ yadda yadda. Second - that skit from the Vicar of Dibley where Alice talks about how she can’t believe it’s not butter. How HERR remembered all the words to that, I will never quite be sure. Witchcraft? Possibly. Hilarious? Definitely.
She finished with another excellent number (who am I kidding at this point, they’re all excellent) - Madonna’s ‘I’m A Sinner’, featuring various sins. Including an entire piece about getting crumbs in butter after using the knife for the butter, bread, jam, and peanut butter, and everyone’s favourite sin - Theresa May in the fields of wheat. Quite frankly one of the funniest things on this known planet. How HERR develops these ideas, god only knows. And in fact, he probably doesn’t. Only HERR does.
Great. Moving on to everyone’s favourite sports presenter, Claire Baldin- no, no, she wasn’t there. Kitty Scott-Claus was. You’ll forgive the mix-up, Kitty in her new hair looks disturbingly similar to the woman. Or possibly Prue Leith, that bird from bake off. Or Gemma Collins, if she’d aged overnight, had 3 kids, and drank a lot of wine. Or - you get the point. Picture any slightly on the large side British woman with short blonde hair. That’s our Kitty. She did look camp though, I - despite the jokes - loved that wig on her. Especially paired with her mesh bodysuit and white Primark trousers.
Beginning with the song I think I have seen her sing every time I’ve seen her for the last god knows how many times, ‘2 Become 1’ by the Spice Girls. Again, quite possibly just so she could rub it in everyone’s faces that she has tickets to see them next year. I quite miss her safe sex talk during the instrumental bit, and that’s not a sentence I ever thought I’d be saying. Next, taking it even camper, a little bit of ABBA. Mamma Mia 2 ABBA, and one of the best songs on the whole damned soundtrack - ‘Angel Eyes’. I think I like that song so much just because angel eyes sounds so nice, and I would like to be an angel with angel eyes. Kitty did a beautiful rendition, quite possibly insulted someone in the audience by pointing at him and nominating him as the man ‘Angel Eyes’ is sung about. Ah. Nothing like a bit of Monday night defamation.
Kitty finished with what is usually my favourite duet between her and the one and only Ophelia Love - but as Ophelia was not booked for the evening, sang it solo. ‘One Night Only’ from Dreamgirls is the name of the game (no, that’s an ABBA song), and I have heard it sung on more than one night. So really, she’s a liar. I jest, I jest. Kitty always sings it beautifully, and it’s always a delicious way to round out her numbers.
And finally, our headline act, the gorgeous drag king LoUis CYfer. Camp as you like and dressed in dancing pants, white shirt, and black feathery shoulder thing, LoUis did a lovely bit of singing for us all. Beginning with another Spice Girls song - the whole world has gone crazy for them again - in the form of ‘Spice Up Your Life’ (always a crowd pleaser). But minus the dodgy parts. What a conscientious king, unlike Ms Scott-Claus. Side note: LoUis has such a wonderful voice, I could genuinely listen to him sing all day.
His second number was preceded by some chat about his hometown - Rotherham in Yorkshire. Full confession: have never been to Yorkshire, but there seem to be an awful lot of drag performers who originate from there. Must be something in the water. Much like the west country, to be honest. Anyway. He told us what Rotherham is like - Soho at 5am on a Saturday - before launching into a rewritten version of The Beautiful South’s ‘Rotterdam’, changing the lyrics to ‘Rotherham’. Clever. To the point where I genuinely forgot until just a minute ago that the song wasn’t actually written about Rotherham.
LoUis concluded with a spot of Alanis Morisette - representing that most unrepresented group, the lesbians (of which I am a proud member) - in the form of her gorgeous song ‘Ironic’. LoUis has the perfect voice to tackle that song, and it was just excellent. Honestly. Get yourself out to see him on stage, you will not regret it. I mean, get out and see Kitty and HERR too, but mostly LoUis.
And there you have it. The Tuckshop was once again a roaring success, and despite having to walk half an hour through the dark streets of Londontown to get to Blackfriars station, there is literally nowhere else I would have preferred to spend my evening. I mean that genuinely. It’s quickly become my favourite show, which has a lot to do with the mix of performers they get, and the magic HERR always brings to the stage.