Review: "Denim World Tour" at the Soho Theatre
“When you’ve got Denim, you’ve got soul - there’s no other fabric out there gives you such control.”
So we just about survived Blue Monday, but January is still the pits. You’re back at work after Christmas and your mood is blue, the weather’s blue… if you’re anything like me your bank balance is red…But you know what’s not blue?
I’ve just been to see my first show of 2018 and it was a corker.
By now you should all know my feelings on shows which start at 10pm, but just like Casual Violence in their Grotto, I was actively surprised when we got to the curtain call – how could it be over so soon?!
Denim are the all-singin’, part-dancin’ drag troup that your grey January days need. Their World Tour was a smash-hit at this year’s Edinburgh Fringe, and now it’s coming to the Soho Theatre.
Things this show is not:
- A celebration of deceptively lifelike female impersonation. These are not queens you would be shocked to hear were really princes – I’m talking bass voices (I see you Aphrodite Green), clock-able hair lines, and make up so thick it is a genuine miracle any facial expressions were visible.
- Designed for the easily-offended. (But totally up your alley if you appreciate a masterfully-executed routine on the moral quandary of being both gay and Muslim).
- An actual Wembley arena tour. Soz.
Things this show is:
- Packed with amazing lines (my personal favourite? The Chicago-inspired: “It wasn’t until I was pulsing up her body in my Nutribullet that I even knew she was dead!”)
- A feast of imaginative, hilarious, moving cover songs.
- Fun, fun, FUN. Fun.
The Denim gals formed while in their second year at Cambridge University, in response to the total lack of queer nights - and they have been going for it ever since.
This is drag with a brain… and a serious set of lungs. At first sight, the above-mentioned lack of hyper-feminine polish could be taken as amateurish, or sloppy. But that would be to misunderstand what Denim are about. How can you poke fun at super-stylised, shiny girl groups if…that’s exactly what you look like?
So, why don’t we meet the gurlz?
- Glamrou – Denim frontwoman and Iraqui unicorn.
- Aphrodite Green (née Jones) – Gravel-toned mother of hockey players. Raised by Gregorian monks. Obvs.
- Elektra Cute – Rock chick Treasurer of the Marxist society who holds meetings in her Dad’s underground pool in Knightsbridge. It’s heated.
- Crystal Vaginova – The Russian princess with the heart of gold, voice of crystal and beard of ruby.
- Shirley DuNaughty – Blonde-beehived sweetheart… with homicidal tendencies.
Honestly, I loved everything about this purposefully chaotic dream of a show. The cast-iron back stories, the dawning realisation they were in fact not at Wembley, and their genuinely excellent voices.
This, for me, was what made this show such a pleasure to watch – it is always good to be able to sit back and relax, knowing you’re in a safe pair of lungs. Crystal’s falsetto was truly lovely, and I adored the collective intake of joyful breath when the audience realised that Aphrodite Green’s husky, soulful number…was really a cover of “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun”.
And why are they called Denim? Because it is the universal fabric which unites us all. So why not wrap yourself up in it and find something to enjoy in the bleakest months of the British calendar?