Sydney Sickening Ball 2018

In the Dark, Australia’s leading event production company for LGBTQIA performers proves time and time again that they know how to Put. On. A. Show.  Their most recent endeavor was no different.

The Sickening Ball 2018 was everything its title promised it would be and more, with a fierce line-up including Alaska Thunderfuck, Milk, Vivacious, Miz Cracker, Detox, and SheaCoulee, headlined by the Queen of Halloween Miss Sharon Needles and hosted by Karen From Finance.

I, like everyone else packed into the new Roundhouse venue in Sydney, was buzzing with anticipation and excitement to see the show last Saturday night. I was ready to be sickened, to have my wig snatched and to be given life. I was not ready for just how stunned I would be.

Opening the belated Halloween show was Karen From Finance, a fan favourite Australian queen who came out looking spooky and ooky in a black cape, holding candles and lip-synching, piano and all, to ‘A Thousand Miles’ by Vanessa Carlton. It was such a strong opening to the show, something I’ve come to expect from Karen. Her role as host and her opening numbers are always as amazing as the performing queens.

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Her usual hilarious self, Karen welcomed us to the show and promised that what was to come was going to be amazing. And she wasn’t wrong.

The first queen to perform was Vivacious, season 6 Drag Race alumni and original NYC club kid. She came out in a wildly creative costume with her iconic headpiece Ornacia. I admittedly didn’t know much about Vivacious and had never seen her perform but she surprised me and delivered a really good performance, killing it again in the second half. Her creativity in costume alone had me hooked before she’d even started to perform. Following her was another Season 6 queen, Milk, who turned it out in her unique, off-kilter, club kid inspired drag. Milk was incredible; she was fun, high energy and had everyone cheering. Her second performance to ‘I feel like a woman’ was one of the best of the night and had everyone buzzing.

Miz Cracker, Shea Coulee and Detox followed in the line-up, each just as amazing as each other. Cracker was sassy and hilarious. It was one of her first times down under and the crowd certainly made her feel welcome; she got one of the biggest reactions of the night for both her performances.

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Shea was also a crowd favourite. She lip-synched the house down and her first number especially was one of the fiercest performances I’ve ever seen. There was something so breathtaking, confident and stunning about Shea that everybody seemed to live for.

Detox took the show to a sultrier, sexy level, performing in a revealing dress and going into the crowd to interact. I’d never seen Detox perform anywhere that wasn’t Drag Race or DWV music videos and I was so taken, almost mesmerised by her performances. Both had me so intrigued and I’ve become a big fan after seeing her perform live.

All-Stars 2 champ Alaska Thunderfuck of the planet Glamtron, Queen of snakes, came out in an Elphaba inspired outfit for her first number, green skin and all, and was her usual funny and charming self. Her performance was hilarious and campy, dramatically ending on a stage box, with assistants holding out a train either side of her. It was very Alaska and very entertaining. Her second live performance of ‘Sweet Transvestite’ was just as good.

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The two times I’ve seen Alaska the audience goes wild for her and you can understand why; She’s just incredibly good at drag. Everything from her costumes to her stage presence, to the sweet and genuine way she interacts with fans, is unmatched.

Then the spookiest of them all, the crowned queen of Halloween Sharon Needles came out to finish the first half of the show, dressed in a black gown and singing a cover of Ministry’s ‘Everyday is Halloween’. As a big Sharon Needles fan, I was in heaven. Her dark look was on point, the vocals were on point; it was everything I’d hoped she would bring to the show. It only got better for her second performance which closed the Sickening Ball. She sang ‘666’ from her latest album Battle Axe as well as the Sharon Needles classic ‘Call Me On The Ouija Board’.

As the headliner, Sharon didn’t disappoint. She bought the spooky, provocative, entertaining inappropriateness that we all love her for and gave one hell of a good show.

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Overall, the Sickening Ball was just everything. Each queen was on their absolute A- Game, all bringing stunning, fierce and gag-worthy performances. Karen was an amazing, funny host and the crowd, one of the biggest I’ve seen at a Drag show in Sydney so far, were living for them all.

One of my favourite parts of the show was that among all the lip syncing and joking, costumes and singing, the queens made the time to remind us of the troubles in our community and encouraged us to stay strong. Milk talked about Trans rights and the battles they are currently fighting. Sharon Needles spoke about how special it is that we are still able to come together as a community and celebrate the weird and wonderful despite all the adversity the LGBTQIA community currently faces around the world.

It was special, reassuring and in a way comforting to hear them talk about what people are going through, urging us to support them and to support each other.

The 2018 Sickening Ball was easily the best drag show I’ve been to this year. Here’s hoping it returns to slay us all next year. Happy Belated Halloween Ghoul-friends

A review by guest contributor Ashleigh House, and photos by Sophie Pocock.

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