Since coming back to London and getting addicted to RuPaul’s Drag Race, I have been to many a drag night. Over the Bank Holiday weekend however I went to my first ever proper Drag Race event, and I have a LOT to say about it. Read my review of Klub Kids – The Twisted Circus featuring Drag Race Royalty Chad Michaels, Shea Coulee, Kim Chi, Farrah Moan, Milk and Amanda Lepore below.
I should probably say that I am 25 years old and still completely ready to get obsessed with TV shows if they’re good. RuPaul’s Drag Race is one of them. It features everything a pole dancer might want from TV: glitter, sparkly costumes, butts, drama, twerking, lipsyncing to killer bangers and incredible performers.
However, precisely because I’m 25, and I discovered the show last September and binge-watched all the way through it in a few months, I am not always aware of the level of fandom Drag Race attracts. Let’s just say this was all clarified at the Klub Kids event on Thursday.
Doors were meant to open at 7 but by the time we got there, at around a quarter to, it was clear that we weren’t going to get in in a while. Queues went two different ways all around the Troxy in East London. Audiences of all ages, looking all sorts of fabulous, were surrounding us. I guess RuPaul isn’t joking in saying that drag brings people together. I could see tweens, twenty-somethings and people in their fifties in the crowd. Some people had dragged up, resulting in 6 ft 4 Glamazonian men in heels and corsets, Violet Chachki style. Pastel-coloured hair and outrageous outfits made queueing a very colourful experience. For once, I felt under-dressed in my red American Apparel disco pants, disco tits and mesh top.
If you’re wondering what to expect from a Drag Race type show, here’s the T. Think burlesque, lipsyncing, dancing, live singing and a bit of comedy, depending on the queens involved.
Considering the event was called Twisted Circus, the inevitable dance to Britney’s Circus by DJ and Klub Kids creator Andrew Hoyle kicked off the show, together with stunning trapeze, ropes and aerial silks performances. All I’m saying is that I take a silks class and complain about feeling tired, while these dudes did it in 6 inch stilettos. WERK.
Disclaimer: I will be referring to the queens with the pronoun “she” as that’s what they use with each other on the show as we see it. I hope this won’t offend anyone.
The most mind-blowing thing about The Twisted Circus were, however, the stars themselves: Drag Race royalty. Tiny Farrah Moan put on a burlesque striptease under the notes of her lookalike, Christina Aguilera. Season 6 winner Violet Chachki towered over the stage in her signature uber-tight corset and covered in gems from head to toe, performing to Diamonds Are A Girl’s Best Friend.
Season 4 Finalist and All Stars 1 winner Chad Michaels stayed true to her idol and lipsynced to Cher’s Strong Enough among other songs. Amanda Lepore did a burlesque singalong herself, in a stunning sparkly gown. The performances that will stay with me the most however will be those by Shea Coulee, Milk and Kim Chi.
In her season, Kim Chi was a beautiful, polished queen that relied a lot on the effect of her runway looks and make-up. Here, she stepped it up, making fun of herself, playing with the audience and lipsyncing fiercely.
Although I liked Milk in her season, I was a bit taken aback by her character in All Stars 3, so she was probably the one I was looking forward to see the least. Instead, Milk delivered a killer performance, singing and dancing to her song Touch The Fashion, Change Your Life and creating the twisted, quirky looks and skits she’s known for.
It was Shea Coulee, however, who stole my heart forever. That performance was just WOW. Shea was the only queen who sang live on stage, performing to two of her latest rap singles, Cocky and Creme Brulee.
She lipsynced and vogued the house down with show-stopping hair flicks and unique flow. Her costumes made her the fiercest of them all.
One thing that really threw me at the event was seeing the type of people RuPaul refers to in every post-finale reunion: the Drag Race haters. Because I admire every type of performer, I wouldn’t even dream of saying anything mean about them, no matter how obnoxious they seemed on the show. But add drunkenness to the mix, and some people behind us became mean, shouting horrible things at each performer and bumping into everyone. It makes you wonder why they even go there. #LessTheyPayinYourBillsPayThemBitchesNoMind
Other than that, I was lucky enough to be in a position that was close enough for me to see relatively undisturbed. However, more often than not, I had to try and switch positions in order to avoid watching everything through an iPhone’s screen.
I guess that with Drag Race going so mainstream, so have the online hate and the celebrity value of its contestants. So people will do anything to film them, get a piece of them… or take them down.
Klub Kids was born in Newcastle, running every Thursday night at the Powerhouse Club. The company now works with the best drag acts from around the world, having become one the biggest drag events in the UK. Klub Kids is now in Newcastle, Leeds, Liverpool, Glasgow, Manchester, Birmingham and London.
Whether you’re a die hard Drag Race fan or just enjoy a good show, Klub Kids is the place for you. There people in my group who hadn’t watched all Drag Race seasons, and were still mind blown by the whole thing.
Personally, as a part-time performer, pole dancer and as someone who’s attracted by both genders, drag is exactly my kind of show. I love the rudeness, cheekiness and gender-fuck of it all. It actually left me really confused, knowing what performers look like with and without make-up, and being attracted to them either way. So prepare for confusion, beauty, mastery and showmanship that are making HERstory.