Paul T Davies reviews drag comedy whodunnit Death Drop which has returned to the West End with Holly Stars, Latrice Royale, Myra DuBois, Willam, Anna Phylactic and Louis Cyfer
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It’s a welcome back to the campest, loudest, funniest show in town as Death Drop reopens, with some cast changes, a couple of whom bring new fun and energy to Holly Stars’ Dragatha Christie whodunnit spoof. With new stars from Ru Paul’s Drag Race topping the bill, the show is exactly what we need after the gloomiest of winters. Drag is definitely having its moment (more than a moment!) and the audience will come expecting high camp, filthiness and lip-syncing. They almost get it all.
Now playing the host of Tuck Island Manor is Myra DuBois, an excellent addition to the cast, experienced enough to banter with the audience when opportunity strikes, and getting proceedings going at an excellent level of high drag. Of all the Ru Paul’s Drag Race alumni, probably the most loved is the Queen Mother, Latrice Royale – greeted with roars of love every time she enters – and she brings her own brand of comedy to the role of Summer Raines.
Willam is excellent as sassy faded star Shazza, bringing a feisty energy to the show and a new degree of naughtiness. Returning are the excellent Anna Phylactic as vile newspaper reporter Morgan Pierce, drag king Louis Cyfer almost stealing the show as Conservative MP Rich Whiteman, and Holly Stars hilarious in her roles as “triplets” Brie, Bluer and Spread Bottomley (yes, named after their mother’s favourite cheeses). I felt Don One’s Phil Maker, a highly sexed man, was less effective played as a Brummie, and would have stood no chance against the queens.
There’s no need to worry about plot: it’s all gloriously silly, with a Carry On sensibility and many hilarious moments. However, the show could let go and be even filthier, of which UK drag has a strong tradition. There is a truly filthy joke that brings the house down, but we have to wait until Act Two for it. I’ve seen adult pantomimes ruder than this show. The play could also do with a little more music and dance – it’s something audiences definitely want. It’s perfect for a UK tour, and if it could be a little less ladylike, it will storm theatres. However, it’s a great, silly night out – something I suspect many of us need. Have a couple of cocktails beforehand, and admire the drag in the audience too: stunning!
Running to 11 July 2021
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