Review: Denim: Reunion Tour 

5*
Edinburgh Fringe
Assembly George Square Gardens (3), 22:30 until 26th Aug (Not 25th)

Sometime I feel like a terrible queer. I am loathe to admit it, but I don’t… Watch Drag. I know the basics through cultural osmosis: I know what one is to expect from a Drag Show: a cabaret of party anthems, big wigs and ‘sassy’ one-liners, which, check, Denim absolutely has in spades. But what knocked Denim out of the park for me was that it was equally an expertly styled mockumentary, fashioned like the reunion tour of a girl group, decades after breaking up and washing up.

In reality, Denim have been broken up for a year after their success in 2017’s Edinburgh Fringe, but it seems a lot has happened to the girls in the mean time, and each have their crosses to bare. The group consists of a bleeding-heart, charity loving goth, a Rags to Riches Cover Girl and Bestselling Author, a Soccer Mom mother of a loving (distant) brood of kids, a big-haired, cult-starting blonde, and their intrepid leader, laugh-to-appease-your-white-guilt-and-casual-transphobia, Glamrou.

I feel like you’re supposed to have a favourite member of a girl group, and I will not pretend Glamrou is not mine. As one of the few non-binary people of colour that I know of, Glamrou was one of the first people to make Drag mean something to me. Their candid calling out of ‘queer allies’: those who will dance along at drag shows but who will keep quiet in the face of street harassment and violence really excites me. This, during an exceptionally silly performance is peak ‘a spoon full of sugar’, and I loved every moment.

This is not to say I didn’t love the other Queens as much: I especially loved being initiated into a hairspray-based Scientology-like cult, tone going from Drag Pop to Horror Comedy in moments, and bearing witness to mongoose-based lap dancing.

While the tone is absolutely comedic, there is nothing funny about the sheer power of the vocals. There were several moments where the hair stood up on my arms, chilled by the talent of the singers, whether solo or in harmony. The balance of hauntingly dramatic song, cut through with excellently balanced skit was otherworldly.

In the end, Denim is a deconstruction of toxic attitudes we have in the world: fake allies, gender constructs, organised religion, celebrity culture and Drag itself, and it does it all through dark remixes of High School Musical. If that isn’t top-end Drag, I don’t know what is.
© Nemo Martin 2018
Screen Shot 2018-08-08 at 18.30.28
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