Having blasted the roof off of Usher Hall with their Edinburgh Fringe run, Queenz: The Show with Balls stops off at the West End’s Arts Theatre as part of a nationwide tour that’s currently booking until April 2023.
The show is comprised of five performers who bring us an evening that is fun, fierce and fabulous! The posters that seemed to be everywhere in Edinburgh, read ‘drag like you’ve never HEARD it before’ and it’s rare that the marketing is so on the money. What makes this 85 minutes of drag performance different is the complete absence of lip-sync, with the Queenz belting out female anthems completely live.
Those vocal performances are phenomenal, from a Spice Girls medley, to a musical theatre mash-up the audience were on their feet more often than they were seated. But the Queenz bring their own magic to each number, interpretating each slightly differently for maximum effect.
The Queenz; Billie Eyelash (Luke Hall), ZeZe Van Cartier (Lew Ray), Belle DuBall (Ben Sell), Dia Monte (Jaymi Hensley) and Candy Caned (Josh Hanson), all bring their own flash of colour to proceedings, creating a rainbow of brilliant vocals and dancing. They are joined at portions by Stage Manager ‘Jase’ who entertains the audience with equal gusto, and some very impressive moves.
It wouldn’t be a drag show without a bit of audience interaction, but it’s done in a very inviting and comfortable way, all the Queenz speak directly to the audience, but Dia Monte seems to build the most rapport. There’s a bit of smut and innuendo, as you would probably expect, and the audience gobble it all up with enthusiasm.
Queenz: The Show with Balls started as a fringe show, is currently touring, and has only stopped in the West End for a flying visit, and yet it feels massive. The staging and lighting is as bold and glittering as the Queenz themselves, and despite being on a small stage, these five talented performers and their dazzling show could just as easily be headlining a Las Vegas residency.
The time flies by a little too quickly, and just when it feels the Queenz have really got the audience eating out their hands, it’s time to go. But we go with the positive message the show portrays; while the second half maintains its sense of fun and party atmosphere, it also takes time to reflect on the acceptance of the LGBTQI+ community. Queenz: The Show with Balls leaves its audience feeling, empowered, loved, and ready to conquer just about anything.