Drag Diary

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Drag Diary #18

Wowzers. There was a lot of gayness up at this year’s Edinburgh Fringe. More so than usual, we thought. And now as the festival enters its fourth and final week, here’s a run down of our top five faggy faves. Starting with four words…

1. Drag. Queen. Bette. Davis.

3:05pm, Zoo Roxy, Roxburgh Place

This is a tribute to Bette in her later years (more Baby Jane than Jezebel), but it’s iconic nonetheless and simply put, Grant Smeaton’s performance is pretty effing brilliant. That’s really all there is to say. His take on Bette is not a send up, it can barely even be called an imitation; he embodies the late Miss Davis entirely.

But we really just wanted any excuse to play this clip.

2. A gay icon

Jennifer Coolidge – Yours for the Night
8:15pm, Assembly @ George Street

Did anyone else know that Hollywood stars have insecurities? Oh how we can relate. (Said with a mouthful of Danish pastry while watching Penelope Cruz: “I just can’t understand why I don’t look like that.”)

Other particular gems from her hour-long set include stories from past auditions, impersonations of fellow actresses (her Renee Zellweger on a treadmill is more memorable than both Bridget Jones films put together) and finally, her own inimitable brand of heckler put-downs: “Shut up, cunt.”

Without a doubt, queen of this year’s Edinburgh Fringe.

3. A gay musical

Zanna, Don’t!
11:00am, Zoo Main, Pleasance

The premise is simple: the world is gay. Men love men, women love women, and heterosexuals *shudder* are shunned by society in a wonderfully ironic role reversal.

But all of a sudden Steve and Kate begin to develop feelings for each other. And that’s unnatural, right?

It’s a familiar situation, but one that this time places the mostly gay audience in the awkward position of having to side with this star-crossed couple as their homo-only society criticises, judges and ultimately ostracises them. An absolute must see for any gay, musical theatre fan.

So, that’s any musical theatre fan then.

4. A gay activist

Little Black Bastard
11:00am, Gilded Balloon, Bristo Square

At just seventeen years of age and having been regularly abused, neglected and forced to lead a life on the streets, Noel Tovey was set up and charged by the Australian police for “the abominable crime of buggery.”

If you feel you’ve got the stamina to hear a truly remarkable, first-hand account of one man’s struggle against a society that had all but given up on him then you will find no finer example. If you’re looking for light-hearted festival fun, look elsewhere.

5. And some gay geese

The Gay Geese
5:20pm, C Central, North Bridge

Matt is gay. He needs to tell his best friend. This is not an unfamiliar story by any means and chances are the majority of the audience will have lived through it at some point themselves.

And yet, the award-winning script tackles this all too awkward problem with delicacy. Touching, highly charged and poignant, with just the right amount of humour. (No actual geese on stage though.)

...and that’s that for another year.

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