From the Haus of Dench, the fabulously named Kate Butch and Crudi Dench bring Drag Queens vs. Vampires to Belly Button at Underbelly. While cheesy and relentlessly vulgar, this queer take on the undead is high-spirited and strangely enchanting.
The script, which is written by Matt Stallworthy and Eleanor Mason, is ingeniously camp. The show follows Kate and Crudi on their journey to represent the United Kingdom at the Eurovision song contest in Transylvania, Romania. The two wind up in an Airbnb hosted by a familiar count character, whose seductive nature jeopardises the pair’s friendship alongside their chances in the competition.
Drag Queens vs. Vampires contains a lot of punchlines, and the ambitious script does not leave the audience long without going for a laugh. Unfortunately, some jokes were stronger than others. Punchlines often relied on repetitive crudity (albeit in Dench’s name) or on references to the names of obscure British figures and television programmes. Despite the show containing many funny moments, others felt cheap or forced at times.
That being said, Kate and Crudi were unflaggingly charismatic, and the energy of the audience did not have much time to dip before it was topped up again. By far, the show’s most engaging moments featured improvised comedy and, without ruining anything, audience participation. Kate and Crudi’s audience work left the audience cheering on many occasions throughout the show. Their original Eurovision song, written by Nick Upton, was appropriately joyful and weird. If not representing the United Kingdom, perhaps it could even win a few points in the real thing.
If you missed the Eurovision final in Liverpool this year or if you just fancy something gothic and goofy, Drag Queens vs. Vampires is performing until 27th August. Alternatively, the duo’s show from last year, Drag Queens vs. Zombies, is resurrecting in the same venue on 25th and 26th August.