By James Morgan
At The Yard Theatre
Ru-Paul’s Drag Race has no doubt pushed drag a little closer to the mainstream in recent years. It’s no secret that the theatre landscape is saturated with drag at the moment, which is no bad thing, but it’s always refreshing to find something a little bit different, which is exactly what Drag On offers. James Morgan has merged dance with text and video footage for this piece, combining his childhood love of dragons and fantasy culture with drag. The old style animation was certainly reminiscent of the 90s and would no doubt resonate with any 80s /90s kids in the audience as it did with myself.
His training as a contemporary dancer meant that the highly skilled dance routines in Drag On were a highlight of the piece. It was a pity at moments the projections at the back of the stage distracted a little from the live performance, and the stage was in darkness, but a minor technical point, for what was a highly engaging show.
The dance routines were divided by segments of text spoken softly in to a microphone, from the stage, or sometimes whilst seated with the audience. Some explored queer theory, whilst others were anecdotal from Morgan’s life, which I felt built a warm connection between audience and performer. There was authenticity to the delivery of these sections and the dynamic between the high energy dance routines and the softly spoken texts gave a steady momentum to the piece, and held us throughout. Some of the queer theory texts were perhaps slightly academic for those not already interested in the topic, but for those that are (myself included) they offered plenty of food for thought.
The costumes and make-up are phenomenal, Morgan spends around three hours in make-up before the show in human to reptile transformation, and the effect is worth every second. I don’t want to give too much away, but he’s gone for gold in terms of Dragon Wings and glitz, which have an undeniable ‘wow-factor’ in the closing act.
This show has now closed, but do keep an eye on James for future shows: @halfmorgan
Review © @AmieAmieTay 2017