BREVIEW: BenDeLaCrème’s Inferno A-Go-Go! @ O2 Academy Birmingham 26.08.18

BenDeLaCrème’s Inferno A-Go-Go! @ O2 Academy Birmingham 26.08.18 / Eleanor Sutcliffe




Words by Lydia Fitzer / Pics by Eleanor Sutcliffe

It’s Sunday night and I’m feeling fierce. I’m wearing my finest studs and tassels. I’m ready to strut into the O2 Academy with twinkly eyes and lacy thighs to communicate with a higher being: The Goddess of Drag. Tonight she will be channelled by Magical Queens with wit as sharp as their nails.

The first Magical Queen to the stage is no less glorious for being less famous. Her name is Meth. She emerges in a charcoal gown which glimmers like glass. Her purple hair is opulent. Her makeup is overstated and ferocious – yellows, purples, black and harsh white. Her face screams “Don’t f*ck with me”, but her personality is so endearing that you fall in love. She is the best friend you wish you had. Or perhaps the most loveable evil step mother of all time, as demonstrated by her opening Disney-themed lip sync. Her set has a real personal touch. You want to get to know her better – you want to follow her career.

Meth - supporting BenDeLaCrème’s Inferno A-Go-Go! @ O2 Academy Birmingham 26.08.18 / Eleanor Sutcliffe

Meth performs to grandiose tracks in an almost self-depreciating comical style, using slapstick to poke fun at the song and at herself. It’s really hilarious. Despite that, it’s clear that her performance is highly skilled. She jokes that her fans know she loves “standing and doing FA” lip syncing to a ballad, but there is nothing lazy about this queen. She bounds across the stage like a sexy kangaroo, if such a thing were possible.

For her final number, a lip sync of Meatloaf’s ‘Bat Out of Hell’, Meth asks the audience to imagine lots of fire and special effects (although she really doesn’t need to – she is pure fire). She steps forth in white tights, shrouded in a black shimmery cape. She is already the most gorgeous bat I’ve ever seen. When the first chorus hits, she spreads her arms and opens her cape into – you guessed it – a giant pair of bat wings. It was a glorious moment. She brings truly world-class lip sync and comic delivery, plus the gnarliest air guitar in history. I am convinced by this performance that Meth is correct – Meatloaf is, in fact, “a lazy f*cking drag queen”.

BenDeLaCrème’s Inferno A-Go-Go! @ O2 Academy Birmingham 26.08.18 / Eleanor Sutcliffe

Meth’s set is all too short, although it is a delicious appetiser for BenDeLaCrème. I seriously appreciate how Meth tailors her performance to complement DeLa’s theme. It sets the audience up perfectly for a premature tour of the less-desirable afterlife.

“I hate to burst your Beelzebubble, but we’ll be talking about 14th Century Italian Literature.”

Yep, you heard her correctly. DeLa is basing Inferno A-Go-Go on Dante’s Inferno. It’s the first part of The Divine Comedy, during which Dante travels through the Nine Circles of Hell and ultimately meets the Devil himself. Don’t worry – if you see this tour, you’re not expected to be familiar with Dante’s Inferno. DeLa asks, “Who has actually read Dante’s Inferno?” In response to scattered cheers, she says, “Ah, so here we have the nerds… and the liars!” Not to worry, though. DeLa has “thoroughly skimmed the CliffsNotes”, and is ready to guide us through the experience admirably.

She writhes onto stage, doubled over in a hooded black cloak. You hear her introduce the agonies of hell in a deep, sinister voice… and with perfect comic timing, break into a coughing fit. She throws off her cloak to reveal a tiny red tasselled number, complete with Devil ears.BenDeLaCrème’s Inferno A-Go-Go! @ O2 Academy Birmingham 26.08.18 / Eleanor Sutcliffe

Before she leads us into the world below, however, she does address the elephant in the room. Most RuPaul fans will be aware of BenDeLaCrème only through RuPaul’s Drag Race and All Stars. Season 6 of Drag Race saw DeLa crowned as Miss Congeniality, and Season 3 of All Stars brought that dramatic self-elimination after she was on track to win. DeLa is well aware that a few of the audience are only here because of these shows. She confronts this by giving precisely six seconds of All Stars fan service, for anyone in the audience who’s just dying to hear Maria von Trapp sing RuPaul’s ‘Call Me Mother’. Then no more. This is DeLa’s show, and you will get to know her as the artist she truly is.

DeLa claims that her passion is “taking something smart and making it just a little bit stupid. Honestly, while her interpretation of Dante’s Inferno is a lot more accessible to a modern audience, I think that what she’s really done is add her own type of smart. The jokes are current, sharp, and sometimes just on the right side of being a bad pun. For me she’s her own brand of comic genius.

BenDeLaCrème’s Inferno A-Go-Go! @ O2 Academy Birmingham 26.08.18 / Eleanor SutcliffeWe enter Hell to the most delightful parody of Miley Cyrus’s ‘Party in the USA’; ‘Party in the HEL’. As DeLa points out, there is a clear link between human suffering and Miley Cyrus’s music. She sings rather than lip syncs, bouncing between teen pop bubbles and bloodcurdling screams of horror. It’s immaculate and seemingly effortless. I definitely prefer it to the original.

There is a large screen on stage used to set the scene of Hell. While DeLa sneaks away to change, a short video plays which introduces Hell in holiday cruise-ship style. It flows seamlessly into the rest of the show. DeLa re-emerges in a kitschy pink and yellow ensemble to rapturous admiration.

I won’t describe every single detail of the rest of the show, because I don’t want to spoil it for you. You have to go see it for yourself. I will share some pearls of wisdom from the Second Circle of Hell, though. Did you know that if you’re a pervert who watches Internet porn, you’ll be doomed to spend eternity in the form of the rags you use to wipe up your “sinful seed”? Also, DeLa found herself questioning why there seemed to be no women in the lustful area of Hell. According to a travel brochure, “Women who enjoy sex are in Hell, but it’s just our regular living world.”

BenDeLaCrème’s Inferno A-Go-Go! @ O2 Academy Birmingham 26.08.18 / Eleanor SutcliffeContinuing down through Hell, I notice that DeLa’s comedy is incredibly political. We’re given an amazing satire of America’s gun crisis by a centaur. He happens to be a Hellian patriot in a ‘Make Hell Great Again’ cap. He punishes black people who once smoked a joint on the same level as white people who drove a bus full of orphaned nuns into a lake. When DeLa questions his obvious racism, she takes an arrow to the butt. The centaur isn’t sorry, though – apparently, he’s proud of his right to bear arms. Sound familiar?

It’s funny, though. All of the social satire is incredibly funny… Until we meet the harpy and her trees. The trees are a sudden, profound reminder that in the real world these issues have serious consequences. The trees are the prison of the souls who committed suicide, and, as the harpy says, “Never did nothing to nobody […] Society failed them”. DeLa wonders why those souls are doomed to Hell at all. She asks, “Who is deciding this stuff? Is it demons or… the Devil or… God or… someone else?” She speaks in a whisper, and the silence is deafening.

We go straight from here to the most fabulous part of Hell, the gay beach (I love the accuracy of DeLa’s interpretations. In the original Inferno, the sodomites inhabited a desert of burning sand). It’s an almost immediate antidote to the sadness of a few moments ago. The comedy is pumped to the max, and the vibe is infectious. DeLa asks, “Is that Nancy Reagan?” “Yeah,” says our ultra-camp new friend. “She isn’t gay but this is still her Hell.”

BenDeLaCrème’s Inferno A-Go-Go! @ O2 Academy Birmingham 26.08.18 / Eleanor SutcliffeDeLa takes us through the Eighth Circle of Hell using ‘Disco Inferno’, complete with tight rap and the cheesiest of dance moves. We tour all ten ditches to a perfect musical performance. The comedy is excellent, and every movement is exactly in sync with the soundtrack.

Finally we reach the Ninth Circle of Hell, and a suspiciously Wizard Of Oz-esque Satan greets us on the big screen. DeLa decides to look behind the curtain, and after a hilarious back and forth during which she finds no-one, the Devil cries, “It’s you!” she replies, “Well that’s stupid. […] Why would I put myself through Hell? […] Why would I have decided that all those people are bad?” We’re treated to the corniest closing song in all the worlds and afterlives; ‘We all make the Hell that we burn in’. BenDeLaCrème leaves the stage to an earthquake of applause.

BenDeLaCrème’s Inferno A-Go-Go! is great. It is really great. It is multi-coloured. DeLa gave me DIY greenscreen to ventriloquism (I will remember meeting Indulgence Gluttington to my dying day). She and two audience members created the River Styx using pure fabric and elbow grease. She almost moved me to tears with an arrow sticking out of her butt. I leave the O2 Academy feeling strong, as though I’m breathing new air. She pulled the sulphur from my lungs.

For more on BenDeLaCrème, visit

For more on Meth, visit

For more from the MJR Group, including further event listings and online ticket sales, visit

For more on the O2 Academy Birmingham, including venue details and further event listings, visit


NOT NORMAL – NOT OK is a campaign to encourage safety and respect within live music venues, and to combat the culture of sexual assault and aggression – from dance floor to dressing room.

To sign up to NOT NORMAL – NOT OK, click here. To know more about the NOT NORMAL – NOT OK sticker campaign, click here.

BPREVIEW: BenDeLaCrème’s Inferno A-Go-Go! @ O2 Academy Birmingham 26.08.18

BPREVIEW: BenDeLaCrème’s Inferno A-Go-Go! @ O2 Academy Birmingham 26.08.18

Words by Ed King

On Sunday 26th August, BenDeLaCrème’s Inferno A-Go-Go! comes to the O2 Academy Birmingham – as presented by The MJR Group.

Doors open for Meet & Greet ticket holders from 5:30pm, with the VIP Meet & Greets happening from 6pm to 7pm. The hoi polloi can get access from 7pm – with entry allowed for anyone 14 and over, although under 16s will need adult accompaniment.

Standard tickets are priced at £31.45, with a little extra on top depending on how you want to collect them. For direct event information, including venue details and links to online ticket sales, click here.

Last seen by Birmingham Review at The Glee Club back in March, BenDeLaCrème shot to international acclaim through series 6 of RuPaul’s Drag Race – winning a yet to be broken five challenges in a single season, but then stepping down from the crown and making way for Bianca Del Rio to take the top spot.

A seasoned burlesque performer and actor, BenDeLaCrème has toured three solo shows including her Inferno A-Go-Go! – all of which premiered off Broadway and went on to enjoy international runs. This particular UK stint sees BenDeLaCrème’s Inferno A-Go-Go! start off with two nights at The Clapham Grand in London on Wednesday 22nd and Thursday 23rd August, stopping off in Birmingham on Sunday 26th August, then going on to theatres across the UK before laying itself to rest, for the time being at least, at The Assembly Rooms in Edinburgh on Saturday 1st September.

If you miss any of those shows and you’ve got a really serious bus pass, you could always make the next two in Canada – but for full tour details of BenDeLaCrème’s Inferno A-Go-Go!, click here.

So what can we expect when BenDeLaCrème’s Inferno A-Go-Go! comes to town..? Regular readers of Birmingham Review will know by now, if they didn’t before, that whilst drag is full of fabulous fun there are also intelligent undercurrents behind many performers on the scene. And BenDeLaCrème is one of the more high profile voices worth listening too.

Her Inferno A-Go-Go! show takes its name from Dante’s poetic journey through hell (and possibly a nightclub in West Hollywood) with the nine circles of torment setting the stage for BenDeLaCrème’s insightful wit, the odd musical number, and even some puppetry, so we’ve been told.

But we’ve also been told ‘there is real heart’, as the doomed creatures that feature on this camp journey through hell question the why, wherefore, and what the fuck did I do to end up here? And having never been one to shy away from the more honest side of pulling on your heartstrings, as well as a caustic catalogue that could keep Satan at bay, BenDeLaCrème is one queen well suited to such an exploration. And exclamation marks… I guess the devil’s work is never done.

BenDeLaCrème’s Inferno A Go Go comes to the O2 Academy Birmingham on Sunday 26th August, as presented by The MJR Group. For direct event information, including venue details and links to online ticket sales, visit 

For more on BenDeLaCrème, visit 

For more from the MJR Group, including further event listings and online ticket sales, visit

For more on the O2 Academy Birmingham, including venue details and further event listings, visit


NOT NORMAL – NOT OK is a campaign to encourage safety and respect within live music venues, and to combat the culture of sexual assault and aggression – from dance floor to dressing room.

To sign up to NOT NORMAL – NOT OK, click here. To know more about the NOT NORMAL – NOT OK sticker campaign, click here.

BREVIEW: Dragpunk Presents Candyland @ The Nightingale Club 06.04.18

Words & illustrations by Emily Doyle

On Friday 6th April, queer art collective Dragpunk took over the middle floor of The Nightingale Club. This was the venue for their brand new performance night, Dragpunk Presents. For the uninitiated, we caught up with host Amber Cadaverous – who began by explaining the origins of the group’s name.

Amber Cadaverous / Illustration by Emily DoyleThe ‘drag’ in Dragpunk recognises that, “drag artistry is the expressive and creative art for anyone regardless of their gender, sexual identity and orientation,” tells Cadaverous, “it knows no gender but subverts and mocks all gender and art norms.” The collective’s values of “expressive, individual freedom that is anti-establishment and anti-mainstream society,” are where the ‘punk’ comes in.

Whether your interest is makeup, performance art, drag art, queer politics, or you’re simply in need of a safe space for fun, self-expression, and excitement, we want to provide this,” continues Cadaverous. “We plan and run all events as safe space for those across the LGBTQ+ community and allies. We only encourage fun and freedom – dress how you want and be who you want. We welcome all of those who just want to feel the love of a community.

Birmingham is our home, and Birmingham is brimming with art and creativity that needs an outlet and a voice.Lilith / Illustration by Emily Doyle

The theme for tonight is Candyland. Paul Aleksandr runs the door. Head to toe in neon pink, complete with bedazzled facial hair, he offers cakes and sweets to guests as they arrive. Hands are stamped and drinks are bought.

Around midnight, Cadaverous totters on stage. She wears platform heels, a paint splattered prom dress, and an enormous purple wig topped with an even bigger pink bow. Her face is painted with a Glasgow smile and heavily lined eyes, but her excitement about the evening shines through. She welcomes and introduces fellow Dragpunk, Lilith.

Lilith looks like she’s stepped straight out of your MySpace top friends from 2004. She’s dressing up a cinched and contoured club kid look with buckets of kimo-kawaii accessories. A dynamic routine to Blood on the Dance Floor’s ‘Candyland’ sets the tone (and the pace) for the night. Strobe lights illuminate her backcombed wig.

Eva Lution / Illustration by Emily DoyleEva Lution follows, serving a look described by Cadaverous as “glamour granny”. Her glamour is certainly timeless, as she performs the evening’s most articulate lip sync to ‘A Spoonful of Sugar’. Lution’s floor length gown ripples across the stage. It looks effortless, but the costume designer and fashion student later confirms that it was sewn by her own fair hands. When the music switches to Def Leppard, Lution shrugs the gown to the floor. She reveals fishnets and thigh high boots. This girl is no granny.

Ginny Lemon brings a change of pace to the stage next. Some may remember Lemon from an appearance on ITV’s X Factor in 2017, or perhaps from her regular turn as a host at The Village Inn on Hurst Street. Either way, her face is not one you’ll forget in a hurry. Looking like the bastard daughter of Marge Simpson and Velma from Scooby Doo, Lemon emerges from the DJ booth gesticulating along to Tori Amos’ ‘Sugar’ followed by ‘Candy Shop’ by Madonna. These go down like a delicious citrusy treat with the crowd, but her original composition (an a cappella ode to biscuits) is even better.Ginny Lemon / Illustration by Emily Doyle

After a short interval, the room fills again for Mama Mamba. The 2017 winner of Church of Yshee has set the bar high. She perches on the side of the stage, legs bound into a mermaid tail. The room goes quiet. ‘Part of Your World’ from The Little Mermaid fades in.

Mamba flirts with the crowd, winking and pouting throughout the lipsync while she’s photographed. She checks her flawless makeup in a shell-shaped mirror and combs a fork through her turquoise hair. Slowly, she pulls herself up onto her fins and shimmies out of the tail, flaunting the best bum on Birmingham’s drag scene. Mamba struts across the stage in a iridescent miniskirt, and when the song reaches its falsetto climax she gleefully removes her seashell bra to reveal matching nipple tassels. It’s what Walt Disney would have wanted.

Mama Mamba / Illustration by Emily DoyleA new face on the local scene, Stormy Carl’s creator describes her as “a messy woman zoomed in on.” She wears a pink satin slip which clashes against her emerald curls. If you look down, pink stripy socks peep out the top of her platform sandals. Carl has taken the evening’s theme and run with it, crafting a playful mix for her routine that features Aqua, Austin Powers, and a smattering of Spongebob Squarepants dialogue.

She drizzles caramel over herself and throws her sticky dress to the ground, untangling it from her feet as the room takes in her pink paisley bikini. Her athletic, chaotic routine leaves the crowd wondering where she’s been hiding.

Stormy Carl / Illustration by Emily Doyle

We caught up with Stormy Carl after the show for a few words. As one of Dragpunk’s female performers, she had a few words on the role of women within the scene:

Drag at its core, to me anyways, is just about playing dress up,” explains Carl. “Historically it was a way to entertain and escape from society. You can be ANYONE in drag: yourself, an egg, a celebrity, or just whatever you perceive as beautiful. I like to take the idea of ‘woman’ that society has constructed and just times it by 100.

Nora Virus opens the third and final set of the evening. A key player in Birmingham’s club kid community, Virus is a part of the Opulence collective and founder of another new drag event coming to Birmingham, Mother’s Meeting. Wearing a cropped, tie dye t-shirt and candy floss pink wig, she delights in completely desecrating ‘Pure Imagination’ from 1971’s Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.

Nora Virus / Illustration by Emily Doyle

Beckoning fellow artist Liam Layland from the crowd, Virus invites him to reach inside the large, plush doughnut strapped around her waist and try his luck. What follows can’t be repeated here, but it ends with them skipping off stage together to the tune of ‘I’ve Got a Golden Ticket’.

Self-described ‘burlesquer and activist’, Petite, is a bundle of cardigan and big frothy petticoats. She dances to Jackie Wilson’s fitting ‘Reet Petite’, grinning at the crowd. This saccharine tone quickly dissolves when ‘Pour Some Sugar on Me’ starts playing for the second time this evening.

Petite takes this more literally than Eva Lution did and strips down to lingerie before liberally pouring a whole a bag of Tate & Lyle over her body. When the song’s over, the performers all scrabble to clear the floor of sugar, whipped cream, and cupcake crumbs in time for the final act.Petite / Illustration by Emily Doyle

The fourth and final member of the Dragpunk collective, Tacky Alex, is here to close the night. Joined on stage by Stormy Carl and Mama Mamba for a choreographed routine to Katy Perry’s ‘California Girls’, Alex begins pulling audience members up to join them. After the show, Amber Cadaverous picked this out as the highlight of her night.

Tacky Alex / Illustration by Emily DoyleIt felt so silly and fun but had a real community vibe and spirit; everyone was laughing and smiling. It just felt so right!

It seems a fitting ending to a night celebrating the playful and inclusive nature of drag as an art form; everyone left feeling pleased to see the Dragpunk team pull it off.

”There is always something really magic about seeing all your plans come to life,” Cadaverous agrees. “Our ‘Presents’ night is going to be regular throughout the year, each time with a new theme and a production showcasing local and national UK drag of all genders, sexualities and abilities… expect us to release the next theme and line up shortly! As well as our performance night we also run a queer alternative party called I’m Not Okay and our next one of those will be at Birmingham Pride in Nightingales on the Future Stage.

We are also working on some events that will run during the day and outside of club spaces so our fans and friends under 18 will be able to enjoy queer performance art and community based events. Plans include film viewings, drag makeup workshops, drag queen life drawing, open mic performance segments and more!”

For more on the Dragpunk Collective, visit

For more from The Nightingale Club, including full event listings and online ticket sales, visit

BPREVIEW: Dragpunk Presents: Candyland @ The Nightingale Club 06.04.18

BPREVIEW: Dragpunk presents: Candyland @ The Nightingale Club 06.04.18

Words by Emily Doyle

Local queer collective, Dragpunk, are launching a brand new performance based night – Dragpunk Presents. The inaugural event is on Friday 6th April at The Nightingale Club, with tickets priced at £4 (adv) and £6 (otd).

For direct event information, including online ticket sales, click on the following links to visit the Eventbrite ticket website or the Dragpunk Presents: Candyland Facebook Event Page.

For Dragpunk Presents’ first show, the theme is Candyland: A Celebration of Drag – with the team behind it promising ‘a happy land of modern, diverse, inclusive and utterly creative drag and performance!’. Following on from the roaring success of Dragpunk Collective’s alt queer night, I’m Not Okay, this new event will be ‘showcasing local and national UK drag of all genders, sexualities and abilities that you’ll adore!’. Looks like it’s going to be a big one too.

BPREVIEW: Dragpunk presents: Candyland @ The Nightingale Club 06.04.18Hosting Candyland is Amber Cadaverous, the DJ and performance artist known for her arresting and sometimes unsettling looks. When she’s not busy studying at Birmingham School of Art, Cadaverous is hard at work as one quarter of the Dragpunk Collective. Another bonafide drag punk, Paul Aleksandr will also be in attendance – fresh from a delightful turn at The Glee Club supporting BenDeLaCrème. Expect fishnets, body paint and butchered cuddly toys.

Also performing is Yshee Black, icon of the Birmingham scene and host of regular drag contest Church of Yshee at The Village Inn. If you were at the congregation last November you may recognise a few other faces at Candyland, including burlesque dancer Petite, club kid Nora Virus, and Church of Yshee winner Mama Mamba.

Tacky Alex will also be taking the stage at Candyland. Alex’s pastel perfect looks have been a hit at queer nights Glittershit and Second Self, with a chance to catch them at The Nightingale before she is back on stage supporting Trinity Taylor and Vander Von Odd in May.

Self-described ‘emo trash’, Lilith, will also be at Candyland – putting Siouxsie Sioux to shame with her eyes, alongside Glittershit regular, Pork Pie, who will be keeping it all a bit avant-garde.

You can also expect otherworldly looks from Stormy Carl, stunning costumery from Eva Lution, alternative glamour from Ginny Lemon, and something truly indescribable from Auntie Jamie

Candyland: A Celebration of Drag comes to The Nightingale Club on Friday 6th April, as presented by the Dragpunk Collective. For direct event information, including online ticket sales, click on the following links to visit the Eventbrite ticket website or the Dragpunk Presents: Candyland Facebook Event Page.

For more on the Dragpunk Collective, visit 

For more from The Nightingale Club, including full event listings and online ticket sales, visit

BREVIEW: BenDeLaCrème @ The Glee Club (B’ham) 29.03.18

BenDeLaCrème @ The Glee Club (B’ham) 29.03.18

Words & illustrations by Emily Doyle

The Glee Club is dark and full when compère Alfie Ordinary appears on stage. Some might recognise his pageboy haircut and Twiggy-esque makeup from a certain car advert. He’s not here to sell you a reasonably priced three-door hatchback tonight; Ordinary is hosting the evening on behalf of Eat Sleep Drag Repeat, and doing so with bells on.

Styling himself as a ‘drag prince’, he skips across the stage welcoming the crowd. Clad in a bedazzled suit jacket and shorts, he seems to be wearing as much glitter as is physically possible as he welcomes the acts to the stage. That is until he returns after the interval – kicking off the second half of the show with a sing-a-long rendition of ‘Any Dream Will Do’, Ordinary is resplendent in his very own technicolour dreamcoat.

Birmingham drag performer Paul Aleksandr is there to represent the local scene. One quarter of our city’s Dragpunk Collective, Aleksandr describes himself as a clubkid and genderfucker with “a slight Slenderman vibe”. That vibe is clear from his performance tonight. Appearing on stage in one if his now trademark creations of body paint and butchered cuddly toys, Aleksandr performs a perfectly urgent lip sync to ‘I’m Late’ from Disney’s Alice in Wonderland. The forlorn-looking stuffed rabbit on his headpiece flops its ears as he gesticulates.

Eva Serration was a late addition to the line-up tonight, travelling down from Manchester to join the ESDR party. Her drag takes pop culture and cinematic tropes and weaves them into political, avant-garde drag. She cuts Lady Gaga’s mariachi tinged protest song ‘Americano’ with soundbites from Donald Trump, and proceeds to demolish a makeshift wall with a golf club.

Throughout the night we see her best Miley Cyrus, complete with a wig reveal homage to Sasha Velours’ iconic ‘So Emotional’ performance, and a fond nod to Tarantino’s bloodthirsty schoolgirl Gogo Yubari. While Serration’s drag isn’t the most polished of the night, her performance is innovative – and who at a drag show is going to complain about a bit of Trump bashing?

Lydia L’Scabies proves “the bigger the hair, the better the queen” with her inspired routine to ‘Big Spender’. The University of Brighton Performance Art graduate (where did you think drag queens came from?) gives the best comedic turn of the night with her jarring performance. Don’t let anybody tell you that lip syncing Shirley Bassey can’t be original.

A heartfelt performance of ‘Jessie’s Song’ from Toy Story 2 while dressed as a “personal massager” makes up her second turn. L’Scabies execution is bold and theatrical, but the joke is arguably played out before the song is over.

Of course, the crowd is here to see BenDeLaCrème; following her controversial departure from Ru Paul’s Drag Race All Stars Season 3, DeLa has been the subject of much discussion. Fellow competitors sarcastically dubbed the queen “BenDeLaChrist” after she ducked out of the competition early, keeping her ‘terminally delightful’ reputation intact and telling Ru Paul “I feel like a winner”. A group of fans online have taken her departure as a personal slight against them. BenDeLaCrème has something to say about this.

The opening bars of ‘Jesus Christ Superstar’ fill The Glee Club. In a pure white robe, DeLa makes her first appearance on stage. She takes the mic and launches into a smarting takedown of the viewer response to the series.

She performs an original song on the subject live – later revealing that she wrote it especially for this UK tour – as familiar voice samples from the TV show play throughout. DeLa produces a golden crown of thorns and shrugs off her robe to reveal a bodysuit sequined to represent the wounds of the crucifixion. She poses, and the track finishes. When the applause subsides, she wishes the crowd a happy Easter.

The rest of the show sees BenDeLaCrème charm the crowd with her trademark persona. She coaxes audience members through a lip sync and performs a fan favourite from the TV show, her burlesque comedy routine. For the unacquainted, this involves DeLa removing bra after bra, revealing increasingly ludicrous nipple tassles. It’s a crowdpleaser, although it doesn’t have the same impact as her original material.

The next day, I caught up with performer Paul Aleksandr to get his take on the evening:

“I really loved how full a show it was, and how it flowed so well – Birmingham hasn’t had that many shows like that before so it’s a wonderful new standard. 

I love how self aware DeLa is. She talked about drag, the politics of it, her leaving (RuPaul Drag Race All Stars), with humour and a real knowledge of what fans think and do. She is there, like Sasha Velour is known for, with a message of inclusivity and diversity for LGBTQ people. And she came to The Nightingale After-Party, despite a busy schedule, and witnessed the best of Birmingham’s young and old queer folk on what was the club’s busiest night of the year.” 

For more on BenDeLaCrème, visit 

For more on Paul Aleksander, visit 

For more on Alfie Ordinary, visit

For more on Lydia L’Scabies, visit 

For more on Eva Serration, visit

For more from Eat Sleep Drag Repeat, visit

For more from The Glee Club, including full event listings and online ticket sales, visit