Queueing for a drag show in the snow in April was definitely a new experience for me, but even the cold couldn’t freeze my excitement for the amazing night of drag talent that lay ahead.
Waiting for the meet and greet, I was going over everything I wanted to say in my head, but just ended up excitedly burbling as I always do. However, I can say that Ben and Milk were two of the sweetest queens I have ever met, seeming so genuinely pleased to be meeting everyone. A shoutout goes to Dela for intentionally and repeatedly flipping me in the face with her wig because I apologized for hugging it- it was an honor and a privilege. It was truly lovely to stand and watch everyone else have their meet and greet, feeling a real buzz of joy in the air as fellow drag enthusiasts had their moment with Ben and Milk.
Scotland has an amazing amount of local drag talent, but I left the venue afterward feeling grateful to have witnessed the outstanding numbers of the night. Rujazzle, Dharma Geddon, Perry Cyazine and Alana Duvey put on a night of astonishing performances that were so diverse, it was impossible to guess what was coming next! The first act to kick off the night was Dharma Geddon, who came onstage in a dress constructed out of paper aeroplanes. She performed a slow but gradually building number, resulting in some of these aeroplanes being thrown across the room. Her next number was a ‘Mrs. Freeze’ act, fusing together quotes from the classic Mr. Freeze with different songs about ice for a captivating performance. Dharma is known for her distinctive and creative concepts for performances, as I have had the pleasure of seeing her perform before, and this was stunning to watch unfold.
Next up was Perry Cyazine, introduced by host Rujazzle as the ‘Kimora Blac of bearded drag.’ Perry performed a burlesque act to ‘Believer’ by Imagine Dragons, with rose petals cascading out of her outfit when she took her bra off in the final part of her number. In Perry’s other performance, she took to the stage in a shirt and tie ensemble, taking excerpts from a parody sexual harassment training video and put them together with ‘Sexual’ by Neiked, even including an audience member in the themed performance. Rujazzle also took to the stage, performing a number about a pop culture icon that is, as she described, ‘old but still in her prime.’
Ru’s Barbie-inspired number was a wonderful mix of comedy and cleverness, performing to Aqua’s ‘Barbie Girl’ and mixing in amusing clips of an interview with Barbie, as well as a video commenting why you might not consider Barbie as a feminist icon. The number ended with Rujazzle holding up signs detailing jobs that defy gender stereotypes that Barbie can do to ‘Anything You Can Do,’ such as ‘CEO,’ ‘porn star,’ and ultimately, ‘drag queen’- showing life in plastic truly can be fantastic if Barbie thinks outside the box. She also performed one of my favourite numbers of hers, which is ‘I Can’t-Do It Alone’ from Chicago, with iconic dance moves such as the Macarena and vogue mixed in.
Alana Duvey performed two outstanding numbers which I loved, one being to a rock version of ‘Phantom of the Opera’ with her puppet, which was complete with mask, and the other being a lipsync to a remix of Sweet Brown’s iconic viral video of ‘Ain’t Nobody Got Time for That,’ where she was dressed like the icon herself. After dazzling performances from the local queens, the audience were suitably fired up for Ben and Milk to take the stage.
Milk was first out, performing a risqué number of ‘He Touched Me,’ which was combined with a courtroom style voiceover about Santa Claus touching her ’North Pole.’ Milk’s dramatic and quirky dancing style had the audience in stitches from the first moment. Milk then looked down at the stage, seeing the rose petals remaining from Perry’s burlesque number and asked if Sasha Velour had left them for her. Being in the city on a particularly snowy day, Milk described Edinburgh as a ‘Harry Potter town,’ getting us all to scream whenever she mentioned the name of the city.
Milk’s second number was a medley of dairy-themed songs, including ‘M I L K’ by Leikeli47, Kelis’ legendary bop ‘Milkshake’ (which elicited screams from an excited crowd,) and of course, Milk’s new single which debuted on All-Stars 3– ‘Touch the Fashion.’ Commanding the stage in a large pink fluffy dress which I appear to have described in my notes as a ‘candyfloss fantasy,’ all eyes were on her.
Milk left the stage, but not before getting the audience to cheer if they were ‘drunk, or excited to be drunk when they were of legal age.’ Personally, I felt elated to have seen one of my favourite queens perform in real life, basking in the bubbly and carefree energy that Milk seemed to have transferred to the audience.
Ben de la creme’s first number started off her set as she meant to go on, addressed the lipstick-shaped elephant in the room from All-Stars 3– it was themed around her being ‘Bendelachrist,’ a number specifically written for the UK shows on the way over here. Coming out dressed in a flowing white gown, the song mentions in an upbeat manner how those who are not contestants on Drag Race believe they are ‘experts on drag’ and demand personal answers as to why she made the personal decision to eliminate herself early.
At the end of the number, Dela does a reveal, pretending to crucify herself to the voiceover of Aja from the show describing her as ‘Bendelachrist, savior of Morgan and the drag queens,’ to the amusement and astonishment of those watching. After this, Dela discusses that you get to define success the way that you want, that you get to be your own kind of winner, to the supportive cheers of those who agreed in the crowd. She also talked about the talent of the local queens performing that night, and of all local queens in the UK, and the importance of supporting your local drag queens. In her second number, Dela performed her comedic burlesque routine from the talent show of AS3, which was not any less entertaining the second time around. Once this was over, she began to talk to the crowd, but was interrupted by shouts of ‘I love you Jesus!’ and someone shouting ‘one more tune!’ to which Dela replied comically- ‘Sorry, did you just say tune?’
We did, in fact, get one more tune, with Dela performing a ballad which she described as showing her ‘vulnerable side- you know, the one that Michelle Visage found in a bug costume?’ However beautiful the number, halfway through the track began to intentionally speed up, skip, slow down and even cause Dela to burst into a spontaneous performance of ‘Hey Mickey,’ highlighting her abilities in both serious lipsyncs and also comedic skills.
Overall, Ben de la creme and Milk’s show in Edinburgh was another amazing Slay! show that I was lucky enough to get to witness, with the All-Stars 3 sisters themselves and the local queens ensuring that the audience was exposed to a fierce night of drag talent. The overwhelming message that I felt from the night is that Drag Race is not the be all and end all of drag- supporting your local drag talent, as well as the choices of Drag Race alumni, is the most important thing you can do.