Writer Mark Roberts / Photographer Connor Pope
December is finally upon us. I’ve been trying to ignore the Christmas market because I’m a bit of a scrooge, but if there’s anyone who can get me into the Christmas spirit, it’ll be four drag artists on a Sunday night at The Loft.
The host of Scumbags, Maggots and… Emberly walks on to the floor in an American sports top (I don’t know which one) and announces that she would like to perform her favourite hymn. That hymn? Well, it’s an absolute classic. Emberly begins to sing with emotion and heartbreak:
“My coconuts, you can put them in your mouth,
Right now, right now.”
A tear rolls down my cheek, this beautiful song about yearning boobies who are simultaneously called Mary Kate and Ashley lifts my soul.
As the hymn comes to an end the audience shout out “ding dong”. Ding dong indeed I think.
Krismas, who is apparently on the naughty list for flower related crimes, arrives. Krismas has one of those dancing puppets setups where they’re in front and behind her, controlled by parallel sticks. Except they’re not puppets, they’re poorly endowed blow-up sex dolls.
‘Jingle Bell Rocks’ starts. Yes, the Mean Girls version, and Krismas dances around with her partners until they fall when the sound inevitably gets ripped out. Living her Lindsey Lohan fantasy, the audience dutifully sing the last verse acapella, supporting Kirsmas as she strips down to her lingerie like the “hardcore girls” in Mean Girls do.
Crusty is next, they’re dressed up in Dickensian realness, a flat cap and drag chimney sweep garb. Crusty is apparently on the naughty list for sexualising muppets, specifically Gonzo, in an essay they wrote.
They run to the stage to the sound of Graham Norton introducing them and break into a wonderfully voiced rendition of ‘Food Glorious Food’ from Oliver. Only this isn’t about wanting food, but wanting fame and fortune on a West End stage.
It’s a side-splitting rendition jabbing at the West End’s exploitation of children.
Act two is a lip sync roulette. All four performers’ names are put into a hat and all four are supposed to have learned all of the lip syncs.
Emberly rigs the hat for their turn to get their chosen lip sync. Which is ‘Grandma Got Run Over by A Reindeer’ by Elmo & Patsy.
A rendition about someone losing their grandma by Santa in a terrible incidence of vehicular manslaughter. Tenderly, Emberly twerks to the dead granny. How Incredibly fitting, and they evoke roaring laughter from the audience.
Cake Boi is here in a black velvet dress looking fierce, lip syncing ‘All I Want for Christmas’ by Mariah Carey. Channelling the exact sort of divaness Mariah exudes.
With the inevitable over-exaggeration of the melisma Mariah is known for, Cake Boi is giving us heartbreak and sleigh bells in equal measure. The lip sync is excellent, their syllables snap out of the mouth with precision.
Suddenly Cake Boi is outside the venue, voguing and still lip syncing in time in the middle of the street. The audience are all standing and in hysterics, my eyes water again.
Running to the window at the front of the venue they whip their head forward, losing their wig, maybe purposefully, maybe not, but who cares. Abruptly they’re out of view and then suddenly their wig is blowing around on their face, then they’re running to the front door.
As unabated rip-roaring laughter continues, Cake Boi returns for a standing ovation.
Another break and we’re back. This act, Cake Boi, now dressed as Cilla Black, is lip syncing a mash-up of songs and a Cilla Black interview. Orange in one hand and an oxo cube in the other, in reference to Cilla talking about eating them together, Cake Boi follows suit with gusto, causing laughter to fill the room.
They sprinkle the oxo cube into their mouth and over the audience. But this performance is anything but salty.
Krismas is dressed in the exact ‘Jingle Bell Rocks’ dress from Mean Girls. I’m thinking I have déjà vu as ‘Jingle Bell Rocks’ starts again. Only this rendition’s lyrics are: “stroke a my, lick a my, suck a my cock’.
Dousing femininity around the room, Krismas dances with pizzazz – flowing between different songs and sound clips. Landing on ‘White Christmas’ she wields a bag of flour; I anticipate them throwing it like snow, but I’m wrong. They remove a baggy from it and begin to snort directly from it.
A white Christmas for all.
Crusty is here with an explanation on flagging. Talking about how gay people back in the olden days communicated to each other their sexuality and their kinks through colour coded handkerchiefs.
Crusty then breaks into a comedy song entitled ‘Piss On Me’ in ode of an unfortunate misunderstanding when they were a younger gay person in a club, and were presumed to be flagging with a yellow handkerchief.
In the end though the story takes a turn, ending on the moral that when push comes to shove you can just be horny enough to entertain water sports. “Piss on me… You’ll be my salty sea,” Crusty ends.
Sunday nights can feel sparse in Birmingham, but this proves that with a little imagination they can be a great evening to go out in town. Emberly’s quartet are fantastic performers with hilarious ideas.
So, to the loft and to Emberly, Crusty, Cake Boi, and Krismas, thank you for warming my scroogey cockles up in time for Christmas.
For more from Emberly go to: www.instagram.com/theemberly
For more from Crusty go to: www.instagram.com/crustydrag
For more from Cake Boi go to: www.cakeboiproductions.myportfolio.com
For more from Krismas go to: www.instagram.com/krismasdoll
For more events at The Loft go to: www.theloftbrum.co.uk