The Scottish Drag scene is booming, as an art and a craft that now has international acclaim and multiple Netflix series. There’s a multitude of outlets and stadium tours by prominent Drag Queens all over Scotland, drag has never been so accessible in Glasgow. I seem to always find myself drawn back to a fabulous show with the same group of fabulous Queens.
As Drag Race UK is about to kick off and there is a distinct lack of Scottish acts, I thought Drag 101 in Fresher’s week at the University of Glasgow was a good opportunity for an Ungagged review.
I previously wrote about the Dragopticon show at the amazing Panopticon theatre here. The Drag 101 show is performed at the Gilchrist Postgraduates club at Glasgow University. It is free show in a great venue and has student union priced beverages, although a donation is welcome after the performances.
And what a gig. I have high expectations whenever I see these creative performers and was not disappointed.
The wonderfully charismatic Alana Duvet opened with her compering and instantly made everyone feel at ease and in the mood for the show. The first act was was Dharma Gheddon who strutted from the back of the room down to the stage area. It was like a catwalk and with such poise, grace and with some wonderfully artistic make up, this renowned drag queen flawlessly performed a lip sync.
Next up was Ru Jazzle with a campy french maid cartoon routine. I had never seen this queen perform before, and even tho a slight technical glitch, played it off with humour and continued like a true professional. Drag aesthetic was well beaten face giving glam face, fun lip syncing and costume was okay, she paid for dat good ass but I wanted more boobs. Delivered on comic timings and provided a room full of laughs by giving the stage floor a good hoovering. Who needs dyson patented suction when you have such vigorous feather dusting?
Afterwards was another first for me, with Groundskeeper Fanny. A pencil thin babe with legs for days. Shock short fringed, jet black hair and intense red PVC short, short dress. Black PVC gloves and sharp, look at these cheek bones make up. A real 50’s Dominatrix vibe. Another funny, entertaining Queen with originality and great dramatic lip sync faces. I look forward to seeing more from these performers.
I keep it no secret that I love Alana Duvet, so when she stepped down the makeshift aisle in a well padded gown, cinched and oozing exquisite I may have squealed a little. Alana is a charming, charismatic and humble queen. She is funny and engaging and always so supportive and encouraging of other acts. She involves the audience and remains a true showman in the face of, as expected in live shows, accidental fuck ups. And she’s a rerr singer. A beautiful live rendition of Lana Del Ray’s Gods & Monsters really captivated the crowd in the intimate venue. She genuinely looked beautiful, had a real shine on stage. Even after Ru Jazzle’s thorough cleaning previously.
Then there was a first time performer in the form of bio drag with Marina. She wanted to have a shot and really gave it a go. A well rehearsed dance routine that gave all the Anastasia vibes of early 2000s. She looked great and the crowd loved her. Enthusiastic and fun to watch.
There was an interval and a crowd game. In the form of supermarket sweep where volunteers had to go grab some hidden shopping amongst the crowd. The winner got a free drink and it was really quite a nice wee break in the proceedings. It was a really hot night, and although the Post graduates bar staff had opened all the windows, I suspect some of the performers needed to hydrate. I had another beer.
But we didn’t wait long, there had been a previous lip sync competition and we were blessed to have the winner, Innocence Bliss perform a cracking and hilarious lip sync. In a sequenced floor length, vibrant red gown, she wowed and brought the house down. A worthy vivacious, victor.
Then my beloved queen Alana Duvet returned with a costume change and a very early Liza Minnelli look. I was feeling it, the face, the cute cropped hair piece, then I questioned my companion what was that cape? Was it a silk kaftan? Was it a shrug? Was it a hybrid of the two? I don’t know but the rap verses amid the power ballad and slow R&B poses made me laugh too much to remember what I was critiquing. I just love this hilarious performer. Alana Duvet is my favourite Scottish Drag Queen.
There were two more performances from the artists I hadn’t seen before. Groundskeeper Fanny with a more hyped Lip Sync with a bit of Glasgow humour playing to her audience, up beat and quirky. Just fun and high energy enough to make up for no costume change. Then Ru Vazzle appeared in a hospital gown. My eager date whispering to me, “its operation, she’s gonna do operation.” Slightly confused and annoyed at being told what’s coming, I waited eagerly. A really camp, full nude body suit with attachments and props were promptly revealed and a physical and hilarious lip sync followed. I really enjoyed this variety and originality. Drag is not only got to be funny and fabulous, it has to be creative and visual. The only downside was some of the pieces removed from the body were too wee to see from the audience. I would’ve liked more obtuse, oversized props, nude Velcro strips and bigger writing, it would’ve made it a perfect act. Really enjoyed experiencing these queens for the first time.
The climax of the show was so camp I think the Post Grad club may have blushed in rainbow. A duet lip sync with Alana and Dharma. These two queens really have a lovely chemistry on stage and you can tell they both thoroughly enjoy their craft. Dharma Gheddon is a technical Picasso, I’ve seen her digital art incorporated into her acts before but this time it was physical interaction on her costume change, which might have slightly malfunctioned but still packed a punch. The vibrant make up (which you can see clearly in her tweet here) really popped with the neon hair and the cartoon heroes pop song just screamed super geeks. I always enjoy these two creatives perform and I really recommend you follow what they do and go along and support their work.
The Gilchrest Post Graduates club is at Glasgow University. The Drag 101 show is free, open to all but under 18’s need adult supervision and you can get a nice coffee or a cheap beer. The crowd was varied, good age range and relaxed atmosphere. Oh and did I mention there was a dog, dogs are allowed…