The Garrick Theatre plays host to a murder mystery play with a fully drag cast
“Stop dicking around and put your masks on, we are about to start Act Two!”
Some of the audience were the best dressed and the most exotic, over six foot high before you added 7 inch heels, with designer frocks and startlingly perfect make up and worthy of a show all by themselves. I have to confess I have not been into drag but seeing these figures of perfection, tall, elegant and striking, I could be, for the sheer visual artistry.
The first act of the show, as so many first acts can be, tends to pale as the characters are set up. In fact it is three quarters of an hour to the discovery of Body Number One. Loosely based on Dragatha Christie’s seminal murder novel And Then There Were None, Death Drop places its characters on an island in a country house. Each of them has received an invitation but none of them knows who it is from. It is 1991 and they have been told that they are there to celebrate the tenth wedding anniversary of Charles and Diana, whose portrait decorates the chimney piece.
We meet Morgan Pierce (Anna Phylactic) a journalist, red haired and efficiently dressed, think an editor of Vogue. Holly Stars wrote the script and she plays three triplet housekeepers, the Bottomley girls all named after cheese, Blue, Brie and Spread. Lady von Fistenburg is played by Vinegar Strokes, a veteran of RuPaul’s Drag Race.
Phil Maker, a television producer is played by Kemal Bob a drag king from Houston Texas, diminutive but horny looking a bit like the “Artist formerly known as ……” Summer Raines is Monét X Change, the first double crown winner from RuPaul’s Drag Race. As Shazza is Courtney Act, an Australian and another veteran of RuPaul’s Drag Race who has a magnificent singing voice. Sadly the sound balance was poor and too often we could not hear the words of what was being sung.
Completing the cast is LoUis CYfer played by Rick Whiteman, Lucy Jane Parkinson’s alter ego, middle aged and moustachioed, the other drag king in Death Drop.
The Second Act is faster and furiouser and more enjoyable as the bodies start to pile up. Phil will sing “I’m Too Sexy for my Shirt”. There are mass accusations as they all turn on each other. Monét X Change will metamorphose into Inspector Gadget with regulation mackintosh, trilby hat, waxed moustache and French accent.
Morgan Pierce will meet an untimely end as she is stabbed with a stiletto heel. From there the show descends into mayhem, Brie (or is it Blue?) will lose a sister and the bodies pile up. I liked the witty, socially distanced fight as the number of guests dwindles.
The ideal audience for Death Drop is those familiar with these drag icons and their style which is best suited to audiences free to react with witty banter. For the rest of us it may be a bit of a drag but at least the West End is playing tribute to gender fluidity.
Written by Holly Stars
Based on an original idea by Christopher D Clegg
Directed by Jesse Jones
Monét X Change
Eleanor Burke “Apple Derrieres”
Director: Jesse Jones
Set Designer: Justin Williams
Costume Designer: Isobel Pellow
Lighting Designer: Jack Weir
Sound Designer: Beth Duke and Mwen
Running Time: Two hours 20 minutes with one interval
Booking from 19th May 2021 to 11th July 2021
The Garrick Theatre
2 Charing Cross Road
London WC2H 1HH
Rail/Tube: Charing Cross
Reviewed by Lizzie Loveridge at the Garrick
on 10th December 2020