BPREVIEW: Blame It On Bianca Del Rio @ Symphony Hall 30.07.18

BPREVIEW: Blame It On Bianca Del Rio @ Symphony Hall 30.07.18

Words by Ashleigh Goodwin

Following her sell out Not Today Satan tour in 2016/7 , Bianca Del Rio is back at Birmingham’s Symphony Hall with her Blame It On Bianca stand-up comedy show on Monday 30th July.

The evening’s entertainment starts in the Symphony Hall Foyer & Café Bar from 6pm with a live performance from Soprano Alexandra Bork and pianist Nick Bonadies, followed by a ‘pre-show party’ with DJ Lady Miss Ikea at 7pm. The main Blame It On Bianca show is scheduled to start at 8.30pm.

The event is strictly 16+ and is currently sold out, with no further tickets planned for release at the time of writing. For direct show information, including venue details and online ticket sales, click here.

Bianca Del Rio is primarily known as the winner of RuPaul’s Drag Race Season 6, with her outspoken nature, caustic comedy, and razor-sharp wit quickly making her a firm fan favorite. Del Rio was further voted as the viewers’ favorite winner from Drag Race Seasons 1-6 in a poll conducted by Logo TV, the then broadcaster of the RuPaul show.

Bianca Del Rio solidified her competency and professionalism as a performer through iconic RuPaul challenges such as ‘The Snatch Game’ and the ‘Queens of Comedy’, with the show’s titular host saying of her stand up routine in the latter that not only did she “kill it,” she “murdered it”. This should give you a hint of the possible hilarity/havoc on its way to the Symphony Hall stage.

To open the night, FLUID Festival are presenting free pre-show entertainment ‘as part of Symphony Hall’s foyer events programme’ before the Blame It On Bianca Del Rio show. Soprano Alexandra Bork and pianist Nick Bonadies will be performing from 6pm, whose collaboration ‘focuses on opera’s heart-shatteringly high-diva moments to cabaret classics… and smashes down walls between classical concert halls and queer performance spaces. ’

Additionally, ‘international dance music DJ’ Lady Miss Ikea will be appearing from 7pm, playing a mixture of ‘the most glamorous deep, house, disco and wildest pop’ and getting the audience ready for the “clown in a gown” Del Rio.

And whilst self-proclaimed, “clown in a gown” only touches the surface of Bianca Del Rio, with costume designing, three stand-up comedy tours, numerous theatre performances, and film roles all under her belt. Del Rio was also the ‘first contestant in the shows’ history’ of the phenomenally popular RuPaul’s Drag Race ‘to make it through the entire competition without every placing in the bottom three for a challenge’ – with Del Rio’s ‘go hard or go home’ ethos also taking her recent Blame It On tour across Australia, Asia, South America, North America and mainland Europe before landing in the UK.

Not a bad list of accolades, let’s just hope she’s got some energy left. For as the queen of insult comedy has said of Monday’s event: “I hope you’re ready for some filthy, nasty, hateful humor because I’m coming to Birmingham with a brand-new comedy show”. Symphony Hall front row, you have been warned.

Bianca Del Rio brings her Blame It On stand up show to the Symphony Hall on Monday 30th July 2018. There will be pre-show entertainment from soprano Alexandra Bork and pianist Nick Bonadies, as well as a set from DJ Lady Miss Ikea in the Symphony Hall Foyer & Café Bar. For direct show information, including venue details and online ticket sales, visit www.thsh.co.uk/event/blame-it-on-bianca-del-rio

For more on Bianca Del Rio, visit www.thebiancadelrio.com 

For more from the Town & Symphony Halls, including venue details and further event listings, visit www.thsh.co.uk


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: Queens of Comedy Extravaganza @ O2 Academy Birmingham 05.09.17

Bianca Del Rio - Queens of Comedy Extravaganza @ O2 Academy 05.09.17 / Eleanor Sutcliffe - Birmingham Review




Words & pics by Eleanor Sutcliffe

Working as a music photographer prepares you for numerous things.

It doesn’t prepare you for drag queens cart wheeling into splits clad in platform heels and lingerie, or having a 10 inch silicone phallus thrown at you across the stage. Or being called a cunt in front of the O2 Academy’s sold out main room. It definitely doesn’t prepare you to find these things side splittingly hilarious.

Arriving at the O2 Academy, I was greeted with the most diverse, kaleidoscopic crowd I’ve ever seen. Groups of men and women snaked along the streets and up Bath Row as drag queens ran along the crowd, hugging fans and batting their false eyelashes while handing Bianca Del Rio - Queens of Comedy Extravaganza @ O2 Academy 05.09.17 / Eleanor Sutcliffe - Birmingham Reviewout Klub Kids flyers. Usually with any concert you can easily identify the standard show-goer demographic, but here it was simply impossible. Drag has no boundaries regarding its audience – clearly, anyone can enjoy it.

As the room filled up and the lights dimmed, I made my way to the front and sat in anticipation. Out onto the stage burst Andrew Hoyle, the head promoter for Klub Kids; exclaiming that tickets for their Twisted Circus tour were now on sale, he sold the room the show by promising “acrobats, and midgets, and acrobatic midgets” before welcoming on Bianca Del Rio.

Jackie Beat - Queens of Comedy Extravaganza @ O2 Academy 05.09.17 / Eleanor Sutcliffe - Birmingham ReviewDel Rio is what some people would describe as their worst nightmare – a six foot figure of immaculate makeup and savage wit, her comedy both hilarious and highly inappropriate for what was deemed a 14+ show. Within minutes of gracing the stage with her presence, she managed to insult at least half of the room. Girls filming the show were openly mocked, as Del Rio exclaimed that they would watch it at home whilst “flicking the bean”, much to their horror and to the sheer delight of their friends.

Not a minute later, I was branded an “utter cunt” by the queen herself for taking photos from an “unflattering” angle. And yet, none of us could stop laughing. Her humor was so dark, so Charlie Hides - Queens of Comedy Extravaganza @ O2 Academy 05.09.17 / Eleanor Sutcliffe - Birmingham Reviewabusive, so obscenely unaware of what was socially acceptable to say in a room full of a few thousand people, that you simply couldn’t help but find it utterly hilarious.

First up was Jackie Beat, as BenDeLaCreme was sick and not able to perform – according to Beat, this involved an altercation involving heels and stairs. Exclaiming how she would be combining “the two things gay men love most – Broadway musicals and sex”, she performed a smut smeared cover of ‘And I Am Telling You’ from Dreamgirls, followed by a hilarious rendition of ‘Baby Got Back’ by Sir Mix-A-Lot.

House of Decay - Queens of Comedy Extravaganza @ O2 Academy 05.09.17 / Eleanor Sutcliffe - Birmingham ReviewNext was Charlie Hides, who’s comedy was so quintessentially British that the whole room simply fell in love with her. Her humor, though scathing, was smart and witty. She described one drag queen as being “rather like Joan of Ark – creative ideas, but badly executed”, leaving the entire room in stitches.

As one of the few queens of the night that did not rely simply on sexual puns or insulting other performers, she stuck out to me as one of the highlights of the show. Her original song ‘I Don’t Care If You Think I’m A Bitch As Long As You Think I’m Thin’ was not to my taste, however that didn’t stop it going down a storm with the rest of the room; although to me musically she fell flat, I could have easily watched her comedy for hours.

Lady Bunny - Queens of Comedy Extravaganza @ O2 Academy 05.09.17 / Eleanor Sutcliffe - Birmingham ReviewNext was an interval performance by London and Manchester based dance group, House of Decay. Watching them twist and contort their bodies into shapes that I was not aware were even humanly possible, I was brutally reminded that I may need to work on my own personal dance skills.

As someone who avoids heels with a vengeance, I was in awe as they ran, jumped, cart wheeled and pirouetted across the stage in footwear that looked more like some sort of post-apocalyptic weaponry than anything that I would dare let grace my feet.

These guys have mastered every form of dance you can think of – from voguing, which involves quick and fluid movements using your hands and arms, to the aptly named Death Drop. This move is, in short, fucking terrifying. If Katya - Queens of Comedy Extravaganza @ O2 Academy 05.09.17 / Eleanor Sutcliffe - Birmingham ReviewBirmingham Review let me use GIFs in my write ups there would be one following this sentence, so I encourage you to go forth and Google, and be both impressed and distressed for a while. (Ed’s note… as far as I can see, the trick here is to not break your spine – Death Drop Compilation)

Now, the iconic Lady Bunny. One of the original Club Kids from 80s New York, she soon had the room in stitches as she joked about her age, claiming she’d be dropping dead any minute. Her performance was less high octane than those before her, and relied solely on poop humor, but still brilliant. I would be lying however if I said that I did not spend most of my time staring in utter bemusement at her wig, as it made up at least half of her height and did not move a millimeter throughout her set.Alyssa Edwards - Queens of Comedy Extravaganza @ O2 Academy 05.09.17 / Eleanor Sutcliffe - Birmingham Review

During her performance of ‘I’m Not A Girl, Not Yet A Woman’ by Britney Spears, she whipped out a 10 inch silicone penis and started flinging it around the stage like something possessed. It was at this point that I excused myself side stage and began contemplating my career decisions.

Following from this was Katya, who describes herself as “your average run-of-the-mill Russian bisexual transvestite hooker”Bianca Del Rio describes her as “the rightful queen of Drag Race All Stars,” and as she writhed her way along the stage in thigh high lace up gold boots, it was clear why. Not only was her new stand up routine to the point and side splittingly funny, but her impressions of fellow drag queen Roxxxy Andrews was both horrific and hilariously accurate.Bianca Del Rio & Alyssa Edwards - Queens of Comedy Extravaganza @ O2 Academy 05.09.17 / Eleanor Sutcliffe - Birmingham Review

Finally, Alyssa Edwards strutted out on stage and launched straight into an energetic dance number to a mashup of songs including ‘Me Too’ by Meghan Trainor and ‘What You Know ‘Bout Me?’ by Nicki Minaj.

Within minutes she was climbing along the crowd barrier while House of Decay served as her backing dancers on stage. Describing herself as “Drag royalty” and promising a show to remember, she delivered just that.

Overall, Klub Kids’ Queens of Comedy Extravaganza show was everything I was promised and more; smutty, witty, and worryingly offensive at times, each performer commanded the stage as their own. I can’t wait to see more of them in the future.

For more on Queens of Comedy Extravaganza/Klub Kidsvisit www.klubkids.co.uk

For more from the O2 Academy, including venue details and online ticket sales, visit www.academymusicgroup.com/o2academybirmingham

BPREVIEW: Queens of Comedy Extravaganza @ O2 Academy Birmingham 05.09.17

BPREVIEW: Queens of Comedy Extravaganza @ O2 Academy Birmingham 05.09.17

Words by Eleanor Sutcliffe

You’re born naked and the rest is drag” – RuPaul

On the 5th of September, O2 Academy will be welcoming Kids Klub’s Queens of Comedy Extravaganza tour – hosted by Bianca Del Rio, and including performances from a whole host of drag artists, including Alyssa Edwards, BenDeLaCreme, Lady Bunny and more.

Doors open at 8pm, with tickets priced at £30 plus booking fee – for direct gig info, including venue details and online ticket sales, click here.

Leading the show is Bianca Del Rio, whose last appearance in Birmingham was back in February as part of her Not Today Satan tour. A self confessed ‘Clown in a gown’ armed with a ‘Rolerdex of Hate’, Del Rio is flanked by Lady Bunny – the only performer of the night to not have appeared as a contestant on RuPaul’s Drag Race.

Famed as one of the original Alig Club Kids of New York in the 1980s, Lady Bunny performs frequently with Bianca Del Rio as a fixture on the New York gay club scene and has released tracks such as ‘Shame Shame Shame!’ and ‘The Pussycat Song’. Joining them is former Miss Gay America, Alyssa Edwards, and BenDeLaCreme, a burlesque performer hailing from Chicago. Bringing up the rear are Charlie Hides, who’s scathing impersonations of celebrities such as Lana Del Ray and Lady Gaga make for prime YouTube viewing material, and singer Katya who performs regularly in her hometown of Boston.

From the information we could find on the world wide web, Birmingham Review can’t confirm whether the Queens of Comedy Extravaganza at the O2 Academy will be turn by turn or a single extended act. But it will be interesting to see how the show juggles the six large personalities they’re bringing to the stage.

And although Birmingham frequently hosts drag nights in venues such as the Nightingale Club or Eden Bar, it’s rare for the city to be treated with a show in a venue as large as the O2 Academy. However with O2 Academy announcing even more shows with Klub Kids, such as their Twisted Circus tour in March 2018, so here’s hoping that Birmingham will be treated to a whole catalogue of bigger stage drag events in the coming year.

Bianca Del Rio & Lady Bunny – hosting season 8 premier of RuPaul’s Drag Race (Chicago)

Klub Kids presents the Queens of Comedy Extravaganza, coming to the O2 Academy on 5th September ‘17. For direct event info, including venue details and online ticket sales, click here. 

For more on Klub Kids, visit www.klubkids.co.uk

For more from O2 Academy Birmingham including full event listings and online ticket sales, visit www.academymusicgroup.com/o2academybirmingham