Paul T Davies reviews Death Drop now playing at the Garrick Theatre, London.
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Camp as Christmas and as fierce as a July heatwave, this is exactly the kind of show audiences are looking for right now. Death Drop doesn’t claim to be anything else but a Dragatha Christie Whodunnit, that traps a collection of drag queens and kings on the remote Tuck Island and kills them off in bizarre circumstances one by one. Bordering on being an adult panto, it’s the perfect way to spend two hours immune from the trails of the outside world, and features Ru Paul Drag Race royalty!
Writer Holly Stars also appears as the working-class catering triplets Blue, Brie and Spread, (Mother loved cheeses), and is hysterical, both at keeping the action moving at a brisk pace and revelling in the tackiness of the piece. The big draw for many will be Courtney Act, who sends up her pop Princess persona perfectly, and Monet X Change, for my Monet one of the best of Ru Paul’s alumni. Not only does she look stunning throughout, but there is no lip-synching here, she reveals a superb singing voice and is hilarious as the French “detective” in Act Two. However, the big names don’t have it all their own way, each artist gets a chance to shine. Anna Phylactic is perfect as Newspaper editor Morgan Pierce and Vinegar Strokes, after a slightly nervous beginning, settles into her role as Lady Von Fistenberg, delivering chunks of exposition that means nothing in the general course of things! But most impressive are the drag kings, LoUis CYpher outstanding as Conservative MP and hypocrite Rick Whitman, nailing white privilege perfectly, and Kemah Bob excellent as sex-crazed Phil Maker, together they power the play with energy and excellent comic timing.
No one coming to this show will be looking for subtlety! The more over the top the acting the better, and the plot is almost quickly dismissed as the fun and the gags pile up on top of each other. Perhaps because of the enforced break, both cast and audience felt a bit tentative at the beginning, and there were some sound issues that affected the delivery of some lines. The audience are, however, out for a good time, and it’s a shame that some of the musical numbers are too short, it’s what we have come for after all. But the cast will bed in, and I’m sure there will be more ad-libbing, and it could do with being even ruder. (There’s a filthy gag in Act Two that literally stops the show- more of that please!) There’s also a hilarious sequence involving tongue twisters, joyous in its simplicity but so effective, you secretly hope they will go wrong whilst admiring the performer’s astonishing verbal dexterity! With a rolling cast of guest stars, and with social distancing eased and a fully operational bar, this show has the potential to return and prove to be a lasting hit. As it is, I had a ball, it’s a totally fun night out. and fans of drag will thoroughly enjoy themselves!