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Review: DEATH DROP: BACK IN THE HABIT, Garrick Theatre

Garrick Theatre until 19 November 2022 and touring UK.

By: Nov. 10, 2022
Review: DEATH DROP: BACK IN THE HABIT, Garrick Theatre  Image
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Review: DEATH DROP: BACK IN THE HABIT, Garrick Theatre  ImageThis is the second outing for the Death Drop team following on from the popularity of the first Death Drop play which toured in 2020. This time for Death Drop: Back in the Habit, directed by Jesse Jones, we meet new characters as the comedy horror mystery tale takes place in the convent of Saint Babs.

The ensemble cast, made up entirely of drag artists, includes Willam, Louis Cyfer, Cheryl Hole, River Medway and Victoria Scone; a diverse group of performers who are well known in the mainstream for their appearances in various popular drag competitions including RuPaul's Drag Race, BBC RuPaul's Drag Race UK and Drag Idol UK.

Drag performances are not new to theatre and performance, but they are often minor characters where their sole identity is that of a drag performer and more often than not will not have drag artists cast to perform the roles. However, this play featuring only drag performers does not need to temper itself or hold back in an attempt to present a polished and safe performance for a mainstream audience. It is the campy and crass humour in this horror comedy which makes it original and engaging.

The plot is not complicated or ground-breaking, but nor does it need to be, the story by Rob Evans follows many of the traditional horror rules, but with genre bending twists and pop culture and topical references throughout. There are surprises and twists as you would expect from a horror murder slasher comedy. These are pulled together by fantastic lighting design from Rory Beaton.

The set design by Peter McKintosh is simple and provides a setting for some of the best self-referential humour of the performance, which is what British drag comedy is often known for. The performers really seemed to be enjoying themselves and at certain points even broke character to laugh themselves.

The contagious enjoyment of the ensemble cast was felt throughout the audience. The performers played off each other wonderfully, whilst each shining on their own. Louis Cyfer had chemistry in every interaction, especially in the moments shared with Victoria Scone. River Medway was delightful as the ingenue eager to meet her very own Captain Von Trapp. Cheryl Hole and Willam, both fan favourites, were able to showcase their own styles and talents whilst engaging with each other. Cheryl Hole demonstrated her signature death drop with Willam interspersing the scenes with trademark acerbic wit as well as showcasing pop talents with a musical number.

This was a thoroughly enjoyable horror caper which would not work if any part of it took itself too seriously. TUCKSHOP and Trafalgar Theatre Productions aimed to produce a show to highlight the talents of drag artists and that is what they have done. It is not perfect, but it wouldn't be anywhere near as fun if it was trying to be.

Death Drop: Back in the Habit is at the Garrick Theatre until 19 November, then touring.

Photo Credit: Matt Crockett


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