After a rather hectic two weeks in LA, I’m back to review a stunning night on home turf. I hopped on the coach to Bristol, to visit the folks at EAT SLEEP DRAG REPEAT, hosted at the Queenshilling. After the incredibly successful show I visited for last time (Alaska Thunderfuck), I couldn’t wait to be back, and they didn’t disappoint! From learning about STI’s, the world ending and an appearance from Whitney Houston herself, ESDR present Willam was a hell of a night..
Warming up the show for the evening was the fierce and fiery Boo Gatti! The act was a pop hit medley, from Rihanna, to Nicki Minaj and even some Lionel Ritchie! With spoken word, high kicks, splits and death drops, Boo left the audience ready for the evening with her high energy performance!
Opening the show and hosting the evening was the dazzling Alfie Ordinary. Alfie started the night as it meant to go on, pumping the crowd up with a rendition of “Perfect” by Princess Superstar (a classic), clad in more sparkles, rhinestones and sequins than the entire cast of Season 8 put together. The drag prince didn’t stop there, with a range of incredible acts throughout the night, including a football number, with a signature sparkling reveal into a full sequin football kit. My personal favourite number was a duet with puppet Whitney Houston (everybody loves puppets!), which accompanied by epic lighting and smoke effects had the whole audience dying with laughter. Alfie also hosted a miniature Snatch Game, who’s winners got to lipsync for their lives to win two VIP tickets to the next ESDR show (KIM CHI!!). This included one of winning Snatch Games lines to “Naughty Nancy was so naughty she had a BLANK in her purse” being “a copy of the Daily Mail” (BRITISH JOKES). All in all, Alfie hosted the night impeccably, with a variety of acts that had the crowd, aww-ing with affection, gasping in awe at reveals and choking with laugher.
Following Alfie was our first support act of the night, the darling Rodent Decay. After Rodent’s recent win at Lipsync 1000, I had high expectations, which weren’t just matched, they were blown out of the goddamn water. Rodent’s first act set the tone of her talent, including spoken word lipsync’s to a Sylvia Plath interview, then Julia Davis as Plath, which then launched into “Girl Anachronism” by The Dresden Dolls. Her second act was haunting, enchanting and overall entirely captivating. With a number which included “4 Degrees” by ANOHNI and Britney’s “Till The World Ends”, the apocalyptic act left not a eye in the house looking at anything other than her. Including dress twirls, the tightest lipsync I’ve ever seen and spray cans, Rodent Decay added flare and fierceness to the night.
The second support came from house queen Carmen Monoxide, a third of the Haus of Rampage. With stunningly powerful live vocals, Carmen belted out a Rihanna medley of “S&M” and “Only Girl in the World”. The raunchy act even included one lucky audience member receiving a lap dance! Carmen slayed the audience, and was an all round triple threat.
Then came the headline act, Willam! As a fan favourite and Youtube superstar, the audience screamed the house down when Willam took to the stage. Numbers included “American Apparel Ad Girls”, in which Willam made it clear he only sings 35 words in the song, but the audience managed to recite the others back to him perfectly. Other parody favourite including “Boy Is A Bottom” and “Chow Down (At Chick-fil-A)” were sung, leaving the crowd howling with laughter.
The show included the infamous game of “Popper Slap”, in which Willam and a lucky audience member each take a hit of poppers then slap each other in the face. There was also a reading and education lesson on the STI “Shigella”, not to be confused with Shangela, but apparently the infection can surprise you just as much. It just doesn’t jump out of a box. The show ended with a rendition of Britney’s “Hit Me Baby One More Time”, expect all lyrics were replaced with readings of Derrick Barry.
Overall, Willam was incredible. As beautiful as he is talented, he left the audience fulfilled and exhausted from laughing so hard. When asked to describe his time at EDSR:
“There’s so many people in the room, it was surprising un-smelly and I hope everyone makes it to work tomorrow. It was a good goddamn Thursday!”.
This being only my second time at ESDR, I felt more than welcome once again. The night is just full of positivity, it radiates out of the staff, acts and crowd. If you’re looking for a fun filled night, packed with a variety of acts, this is the one for you. I spoke to the night’s artistic directer Mike Pony, and I find the same feelings I experienced reflects in this, which proves a super fun night, hosted by some super fun people:
The ESDR mix of contemporary, avant-garde drag with Drag Race queens is helping to evolve the image of drag in Bristol and bringing new audiences to the artform. Our audiences are amazing, embracing the positive attitude of the night and giving performers a burning hot reception every single time. I am amazed by how much love and support there is for ESDR and especially for our host Alfie (Extra)Ordinary who continues to push at the boundaries of what “drag” is without being confrontational of shady. Without Alfie the show would fall apart. I started ESDR because I loved Drag Race and in the process I have discovered some amazing British drag. Hosting Rodent DeCay this month was a personal highlight, she’s such an arresting performer and her work has real conceptual depth. Who knew Drag could be so political and so entertaining all at once? I am immensely proud of ESDR and the ever growing family of performers who we have worked with so far and I can’t wait to bring Kim Chi and Anna Phylactic to Bristol in June. Long live ESDR!
Make sure you get your tickets to see Kim Chi here!