High-heeled drama keeps audiences and guest sleuth guessing
Les Femmes presents Drop Dead Gorgeous – a Drag Murder Miss-Tery, at the BATS Theater.
Drop Dead Gorgeous – a Drag Murder Miss-Tery, presented by Les Femmes, BATS Theater, September 20-24, reviewed by Sarah Catherall.
It’s high-heeled drama when three drag queens vie for a crown while a detective – aided by the audience – tries to solve a murder mystery.
Drop Dead Gorgeous: A Drag Murder Miss-tery is fabulous and funny, and the latest features multi-talented drag queens and musical theater stars The Women: Olly Humphries (with Miss Givings), Jeremy Hinman (Miss Manage) and Jared Morello (Miss Behavior).
The show opens with the arrival of Karen O’Leary (who plays Officer O’Leary in Paranormal Wellington) who tells us that the queens are not ready to take the stage yet. All we see is a pair of heels peeking out from under a curtain. Another drag queen contestant – number four in the Miss Mature Tween Queen pageant – has been murdered, and the question for the next 75 minutes is, whodunnit?
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Each night the guest detective is played by a different actor, which means the show will be very different depending on who it is (the others this week are actor Simon Leary and comedian Sera Devcich). On opening night, it’s O’Leary, whose delivery in a Scottish accent is dry, and you can like or like the show depending on how much you like his style. She only gets the first page and the first lines of the script right before going on stage, so it’s impromptu theater for her. O’Leary’s role in the murder investigation – aided by us, the audience – determines where the plot goes.
It’s fun to participate. We are asked to check under our seats – there is an envelope under mine, marked 5. I ask Miss Manage which law she might change and why. A few others receive clues which they read to help the detective decide who might have murdered the contestant: an earring and a corset were chosen clues during our evening.
I loved drag queens, especially Miss Givings’ hilarious and fabulous tap-dancing routine and the swimsuit parade, when the trio twirl around in ruffled 1950s swimsuits.
They’re all musical theater stars and over 75 minutes, sing, dance and strut around in sparkling, over-the-top costumes. All of their songs are original – like my friend who came with me, our only wish was for there to be a bit more singing, dancing and prancing as the script felt a bit slow in the middle.
This show is easy to watch for those who might find a drag show a bit too much. There is a surprising intrigue towards the end. There are four possible endings depending on the envelopes chosen by the audience – and even drag queens don’t know “who’s laughing” until the end.
Unlike other performances where the lines and plot lines are set in stone, Drop Dead Gorgeous is artfully original: it could look like quite a different show depending on which night you choose to book tickets for.