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Review: Dragtime! Presents: Simply the Rest

No Tina, no problem!


Well, look who it is! Dragtime! is back doing what it does best: classic drag that is sure to lift you out of your post-Valentine’s Day haze and into spring. Themeless, limitless, glitzy, and glamorous (and not Tina Turner-themed), Dragtime!’s latest installment, Simply the Rest, is chocked-full of the talent and energy that Cambridge didn’t even know it needed.

From moving live singing to hilarious comedy acts (I’m looking at you, Twink Again) to ethereal dancing, Simply the Rest has the hallmarks of a great cabaret drag show, addressing the silliest (like MILFs) and most serious (like transphobia and homophobia) topics with humor and elegance. Despite reiterating that the show was not Tina Turner-themed, there were a few Tina classics like “Proud Mary” and a concluding group medley. With this being only the second Dragtime! show I had seen in Cambridge – and the first being Gunpowder, Treason, and Thot – I had high but manageable expectations. From now on, I will keep my expectations mountain-high, knowing that they will be met!

Host Charlene Collins always keeps the crowd laughing (Image credit: @dikng99)

Despite being a Wednesday night audience, the crowd was kept alive by the magnificent hosts Charlene Collins and Psoriasissy, whose rapport with one another extends to the audience. In fact, one of my favorite bits of the night was the crowd-hosts interactions between acts, such as Psoriasissy inviting the audience to vote on their new drag name mid-way through the show or Charlene Collins heckling her hecklers back. Although one would think that a Wednesday night show (on Valentine’s Day) would lack energy, the hosts and the entire cast and crew ensured that they kept the audience’s rapt attention and had me giggling almost the whole way through.

One of the best things about local drag is the ability to experiment (a topic touched upon by Justa Knight’s remarkably moving performance about drag kings and things and drag culture beyond Drag Race), and this show had a hefty amount of experimentation. I specifically want to spotlight Twink Again’s debut ADC performance; I was simultaneously immensely amused and disturbed in the most incredible way. To avoid spoiling it, I’ll just say that everyone will want to witness this spectacle of performance. 

Just Juno Watt! (Image credit: @dikng99)

Emmanuel Labour also took a risk with their catchy, humorous song about middle-aged women that kept the audience in stitches! Prince Charles and Juno Watt amused the audience as always with Prince Charles’ sultry act and Juno Watt’s highly comedic rendition of “I’m Just Ken” which had me doubled over in my seat. Even debut performers Lesbi-Anna and Babs impressed attendees with their gripping stage presence and commitment.

Emmanuel Labour also took a risk with their catchy, humorous song about middle-aged women that kept the audience in stitches! Prince Charles and Juno Watt amused the audience as always with Prince Charles’ sultry act and Juno Watt’s highly comedic rendition of “I’m Just Ken” which had me doubled over in my seat. Even debut performers Lesbi-Anna and Babs impressed attendees with their gripping stage presence and commitment.

The camaraderie within the cast and crew was evident. I commend the crew for their dedication and professionalism to the whole show. From sound to lighting to stage, everything was smooth. We only glimpsed the crew as they moved poles and props but rest assured, we see you, and we appreciate you! Simply the Rest is dripping in professionalism (and professional non-professionalism) and love for the art of drag, and it is evident from the production crew to the performers. 

Overall, Simply the Rest offered a fun Valentine’s Day night filled with joy and excitement that left me both emotional and grinning ear to ear. If you’re in need of a late-night study break or just a regular good time, make your way over to Dragtime!

5/5

Dragtime! Presents: Simply the Rest is showing from 14th – 17th February at the ADC Theatre at 23:00. Buy your tickets here.