BREVIEW: The Gilded Merkin Burlesque & Cabaret @ The Glee Club (B’ham) 17.03.19

Words & illustrations by Emily Doyle

It’s St Patrick’s Day, and rather than elbowing their way through Digbeth with a Guinness in hand, the patrons of The Glee Club tonight have opted for an altogether more opulent evening. Once again, Scarlett Daggers has assembled a not-too-motley crew for another edition of The Gilded Merkin.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is 2019_1803_joe.png

Since its inception in 2012, The Gilded Merkin has dazzled audiences up and down the country, and tonight is set to be no different. Our host for the evening is Joe Black, dark cabaret performer and musical comedy extraordinaire.

Dripping in sequins and chiffon, he kicks off the evening with a histrionic performance of the Rocky Horror Show’s ‘Sweet Transvestite’. He makes a point of directing some choice lines (“I’ve been making a man/With ginger hair and no tan…”) at Stage Door Johnny, another regular host at the Merkin, who is sat in the front row. By the end, Black is a little out of breath, but jubilant.

“I bet some of you thought, ‘Oooh, we’ll see some nice dancers, and maybe a man in a suit will come out and sing us a song.’ And here I am, dressed as the moon.”

The line-up for the evening offers something for all tastes. Didi Derrière’s blonde bombshell looks lend themselves to classic burlesque, which she performs with a jazzy twist. Her first performance is a smouldering strip-tease to Madonna’s ‘Vogue’, complete with top hat, cigarette holder, and a tribute to that eye-endangering bustier by John Paul Gautier. All duckwalk and motorik arm movements, Derrière’s choreography is precise and full of character. We see her more playful side come through in her second performance of the night, a bejeweled tribute to Marilyn Monroe set to ‘Diamonds are a Girl’s Best Friend’. Rhinestones fly and she shimmies out of a magenta gown – Black is quick to gather them up once she’s left the stage, shouting “MINE NOW” through the curtain and stowing them in his shoe for safekeeping.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is 2019_1803_storm.png

Storm Hooper comes across as one of the night’s more modest performers, in manner if not necessarily in attire. She bills herself as ‘one of the UK’s leading Hula Hoop speciality acts’ on her own website, but apparently when Black asked her how she’s like to be introduced, she just told him she didn’t mind. Black takes this as a challenge, and proceeds to do his impression of a wild cat for what he himself describes as “an awkward amount of time”, pausing only to shout back through the curtain “IS THIS WHAT YOU WANTED??” When Hooper makes it onto the stage, it’s clear she needed no introduction. Clad in a neon yellow, leopard print bikini and clutching an array of light up hula hoops, she performs a bombastic routine to ‘Born to Be Wild’, bathed in suitably seventies blacklight. Her second routine, a showcase of her contortion abilities, is a little heavy on the floorwork for the venue, but the front few rows of the audience seem suitably taken aback.

Arran Shurvinton brings a complete change of pace to the evening with his Nosferatu character. Whether he’s wandering on stage before his queue or lurking at the back of the room while the other performers are on stage, his affectionate portrayal of ‘Noss’ is captivating. The unreal makeup plays a big part, the but the core of the character is in his facial expressions, which range from petulance to a shy smile. Some audience members might recognise Noss from a certain viral video, which sees him shimmying through the racks of Brighton vintage shop Beyond Retro – wearing bloomers and a sequined crop top.

Former winner of ‘Best Newcomer’ at the London Cabaret Awards, Lilly Snatchdragon has a lot to live up to. Her neo-burlesque stylings don’t disappoint, as she manages to be sexy, funny, and confrontational. Her first act plays on the character she builds on social media of a SE Asian women on a quest for a British husband and the passport to match.

Snatchdragon climbs out of a laundry bag and explains her plight in a series of Subterranean Homesick Blues-esque signs, before launching into a striptease routine that makes the audience squirm in their seats. It culminates with her removing her dress to reveal a Union Flag, which she proceeds to floss between her legs. Some would argue Snatchdragon gave herself a hard act to follow, but those people obviously didn’t expect her to return for a second performance wearing an Ewok costume. She removes this, piece by piece, to reveal some light up lightsaber nipple tassels, in a routine that’s as entertaining as it is baffling.

Of course, it wouldn’t be The Gilded Merkin without a performance from the evening’s cackling puppetmaster: Scarlett Daggers. She treats the crowd to two routines tonight – the first sees her totter onstage in an oversized gift box; Daggers dismantles the costume panel by panel until she’s stood on stage in nothing but a pair of diamante nipple pasties and matching C-string. Long suffering stage manager Mimi Libertine, the woman who keeps the show running like a well oiled machine, quickly gathers up the discarded props in time for the next act.

Later in the evening, Daggers performs her iconic ‘dragstrip-tease’ to the sounds of Aerosmith. A spin on the classic fan dance routine, Daggers waves two chequered flags coquettishly as she shimmies out of a thoroughly rockabilly get up, complete with gingham shirt and neckerchief. She produces a bright red oil can to ease her way out of her skintight leather pencil skirt, which she pops open with a twitch of the thighs. With the room in the palm of her hand, it’s easy to see why Daggers is the showrunner.

And so, the night comes to an end – though not without a few more musical numbers from our host Joe Black, including a deeply unsettling re-imagining of George Formby’s ‘When I’m Cleaning Windows’. As the lights go down on another night at The Gilded Merkin, it’s a sad thought that there’s a whole seven months to wait until the next one.

For more on The Gilded Merkin, visit

For more from The Glee Club venues, including full event listings and online ticket sales, 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 learn more about the NOT NORMAL – NOT OK campaign, click here. To sign up and join the NOT NORMAL – NOT OK campaign, click here.

If you have been affected by any of the issues raised in this feature – or if you want to report an act of sexual aggression, abuse, or assault – click here for information via the ‘Help & Support’ page on the NOT NORMAL – NOT OK website.

BPREVIEW: The Gilded Merkin Burlesque & Cabaret @ The Glee Club (B’ham) 17.03.19

Words by Emily Doyle

It’s that time of year again; The Gilded Merkin is coming to The Glee Club, back in Birmingham on Sunday 17th March.

Minimum age of entry is 18years old, with doors open at the Arcadian venue from between 6pm and 6:45pm. Advance tickets are £15 +booking free and can be bought directly through The Glee Club, click here.

Last time Birmingham Review headed to Scarlett Daggers’ acclaimed cabaret, we were treated to Chap-Hop, a human blockhead act, and the go-go stylings of Dave the Bear. So, what’s on offer this time around?

Dubbed ‘one of the leading forces in the dark cabaret genre’, Joe Black is sure to make an impression. He’s shared stages with Eddie Izzard, The Tiger Lillies, and is a regular performer at London’s infamous Torture Garden nightclub. To top it off Black puts on a regular revue, the House of Burlesque, in his hometown of Portsmouth, so he knows how to run a show too.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is Gilded-Merkin.png

Character burlesque performer and member of queer performance collective The Family Fierce, Lilly SnatchDragon will also be performing.

SnatchDragon’s performance is informed by controversial South East Asian stereotypes – as she puts it in her press bio, “Lilly discovering she maybe getting more marrying interest if she doing the Burlesque dancing as well. Lilly do so good showing western peoples how silly they looking at S.E Asian women, she win ‘Best Newcomer’ at London Cabaret Awards 2015”.

Known for their disarming makeup skills (and despite a very committed online persona, their entry for the NYX Face Awards 2016 confirms it is makeup), Arran Shurvinton will be performing as their much-loved Nosferatu character – that’s ‘Noss’ for short. It’s certainly an offbeat choice, but Shurvinton is strangely pragmatic about it: “While I was trying to develop my character persona for stage work, my physicality and art deco gothic aesthetic pointed the way to the 1922 Nosferatu by F.W Murnau”, he told Beyond Retro in 2017.

Bringing some classic class to the proceedings is blonde bombshell Didi Derrière. Her cleverly choreographed acts adds a jazzy twist to classic burlesque, and her pin-up looks have seen her featured by vintage lingerie brand What Katie Did.

Storm Hooper will also be taking to the stage, bringing a taste of the circus to The Gilded Merkin. One of the UK’s leading Hula Hoop speciality acts, Hooper was a featured performer at the sell-out internationally touring Evening of Burlesque theatre show – seeing her perform internationally with her hoops to places as varied as Milan, Beirut, Latvia and the Seychelles.

Last but not least… it wouldn’t be The Gilded Merkin without an appearance from the lady behind it all, Scarlett Daggers. A fiery redhead whose looks are only outshadowed by her talent, Daggers’ rockabilly flair makes her a favourite at car shows and tattoo conventions up and down the country. Known for blending traditional striptease acts with fire-eating and fetishes, Daggers is certain to leave you hot under the collar one way or another.

The Gilded Merkin presents a showcase of burlesque and cabaret at The Glee Club on Sunday 17th March – presented by Scarlett Daggers. For direct show information, including venue details and online ticket sales, visit

For more on The Gilded Merkin, visit

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

THE GALLERY: Bare Bones @ Café Artum 01.12.18

THE GALLERY: Bare Bones @ Café Artum 01.12.18 / Ed King

Words by Emily Doyle / Pics by Ed King

Café Artum, a vinyl-filled setting nestled at the far end of Corporation Street, is busier than usual on this Saturday afternoon.

“This one’s for my mum, over there. This is the first time she’s ever seen me play, today” says Liám Mckeown, taking his seat in front of the window. The room grows quiet. At the back of the cafe, one guy listens to a record on headphones, seemingly oblivious.

THE GALLERY: Bare Bones @ Café Artum 01.12.18 / Ed KingMckeown builds up loops of rhythm guitar before layering effortless lead over the top. Best known for his role in local psych-rock outfit Brain Food, solo he conjures up a much more mellow sound. His singer-songwriter vibe verges on jazzy at points, but always has a psychedelic tinge.

THE GALLERY: Bare Bones – Liám Mckeown @ Café Artum 01.12.18 / Ed KingMckeown covers Neil Young’s 1972 release ‘The Needle and the Damage Done’ – it’s ambitious but heartfelt; the audience listens in stillness as the X51 bus rolls past the window behind him. The set also features stripped back versions of Brain Food songs, including ‘Lemon & Lime’ from the band’s debut EP Get One On. These feel more vocal-led than the rest of Mckeown’s performance and round off the set nicely.

THE GALLERY: Bare Bones – Handwaxx @ Café Artum 01.12.18 / Ed King

The first full band of the bill, Handwaxx, have made only minor concessions to Bare Bones’ advertised ‘raw, stripped back’ ethos. New member Will Sutton, having been recruited to the group just a month ago, has traded out his Vox Phantom for an acoustic guitar, but otherwise the only thing especially stripped back about the outfit’s sound is the lack of a proper PA.

Handwaxx describe themselves as ‘psychedelic indie pop’, which seems like a fair label. Their sound blends a brit-poppish sensibility with a sprinkling of dreamy shoegaze, backed up by impressive lead guitar work from Ryan Baynham. Their set reaches a high point with the last two songs, which move in a more Morricone-esque direction. Handwaxx’s reverb drenched surfy sound is perfect for brightening up a gloomy Saturday afternoon.THE GALLERY: Bare Bones – The Mighty Young @ Café Artum 01.12.18 / Ed King

The promo material for Bare Bones argued that The Mighty Young ‘could probably still melt your face off with an acoustic set’, but it’s clear we won’t find out about that today, as the only acoustic instrument on stage is the drum kit. This is loud, raucous garage rock ‘n’ roll from one of Birmingham’s trusty trios, and there’s not a Cajon in sight.

THE GALLERY: Bare Bones @ Café Artum 01.12.18 / Ed King

The Mighty Young have always embraced a stripped back, DIY ethos with their sound, though. Reminiscent of The White Stripes, their straight-to-the-point performance and songwriting are a joy, unphased by some minor technical hitches.

A jubilant sing-a-long cover of Lou Reed’s ‘Walk on the Wild Side’ provides the soundtrack as one of the bar staff weaves through the dense crowd, putting tealights out on the tables – it’s grown dark out. A passerby outside stops by the window to listen, intrigued.THE GALLERY: Bare Bones – The Mighty Young @ Café Artum 01.12.18 / Ed King A few younger audience members, who’ve got another ten years to wait before they can get in to any other Mighty Young shows, are growing a little restless, but the rest of the crowd are fully engaged.

As six o’ clock approaches and the trio draw things to a close with a slow, bluesy ballad; it’s clear that this inaugural Bare Bones session was a success. And although perhaps not as ‘stripped back’ as originally intended, neither the performers nor the audience seemed to mind. Watching the punters filter back out into the cold and on to the next stop on their Saturday nights, there’s a sense that things are only just beginning.

THE GALLERY: Bare Bones – with The Mighty Young, Handwaxx, Liám Mckeown @ Café Artum 01.12.18 / Ed King 

Gallery not found.


For more on Liám Mckeown/Brain Food, visit

For more on Handwaxx, visit

For more on The Mighty Young, visit

For more on further events from Bare Bones, visit 

For more on Café Artum, 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 learn more about the NOT NORMAL – NOT OK campaign, click here. To sign up and join the NOT NORMAL – NOT OK campaign, click here.

If you have been affected by any of the issues raised in this feature – or if you want to report an act of sexual aggression, abuse, or assault – click here for information via the ‘Help & Support’ page on the NOT NORMAL – NOT OK website.

INTERVIEW: Liquid Cheeks

Liquid Cheeks / By Danny Holden

Words & by pic by Emily Doyle / Pics by Danny Holden

*Liquid Cheeks support The Taboo Club at The Victoria (John Bright St) on Saturday 29th September – alongside Lilac Noise, as part of Birmingham Review’s live music showcase. For more direct info visit the Facebook event page here, or for online ticket sales click here*

Inside The Night Owl, the monthly art and music showcase Kaleidoscope is in full swing. Outside in the smoking area, Ben Ollis Gibbs and Greg Clarke of Liquid Cheeks are perched on one of the picnic tables. They’re big fans of the night – it’s where they chose to debut their latest single, ‘Serendipity’.

I think the concept of art upstairs, music downstairs… it’s wicked,” says Ben. “I mean obviously, I sell my art as well.”

It shows that Birmingham, it’s so much more than just the whole B-town thing,” he muses. “We’re not in the state of being hungover from a corporate explosion anymore, there’s far more to it and these people have always been around. I mean, coming from Redditch we haven’t always known that crowd, so getting to really see what’s going on is excellent.”

There’s a lot of great bands as well,” Greg interjects, “so it’s just nice that they’re all together and everyone gets to know each other.”

Ben and Greg are no strangers to the Midland’s live music scene. Most would recognise them from the now defunct Byron Hare, who were championed by BBC Introducing and played Birmingham Town Hall in their final months. They’ve brought the Byron Hare song ‘Serendipity’ with them into Liquid Cheeks. I ask the boys else how they’re carrying on the narrative.

Liquid Cheeks / By Danny Holden

It takes it back to the start really,” Ben explains. “It was me, Greg and Jodie, and we’d go to the pub over the road to Greg’s Dad’s house, then we’d go back to Greg’s Dad’s house after he’d gone to work, and we’d just write music. That’s kind of what Byron Hare always was, until we realised that Jodie’s voice was far more than that in terms of a presence. That’s why we became a rock band. So it’s nice to go back to just writing and kind of not having any inhibitions about it.”

This ethos is evident in Liquid Cheek’s first release, ‘He’s A Flower’; three minutes of softly spoken indie rock, it rails against toxic masculinity. BBC WM Introducing gave it a spin, describing the band as ‘very pink’.

With a lot of our imagery we want to be kind of touchy feely, and a little bit provocative in that sense,” tells Ben. “We’re men, we’re heterosexual men – but it’s fine to be a bit effeminate. Especially coming from a town like Redditch, all of my life I’ve had to deal with people throwing shit at me like, ‘So what are you, gay?’ and it’s like firstly, that’s not an insult, and secondly…no? So we wanna push that a little bit. What is it to be a man? Is there a place for this kind of alpha anymore?”

Greg nods along. Liquid Cheeks will be making their live debut alongside The Taboo Club and Lilac Noise at The Victoria (John Bright St) on Saturday 29th September . I ask them how preparations are going.

It’s all been very slapdash ’cause we were offered the gig before we even thought we could do a gig,” admits Greg. “Like, way before we thought we could do a gig.”

It was the last Kaleidoscope!” Ben remembers suddenly. “We were here when we were offered the gig, and we went to The Crown and we had a drink and we said ‘I don’t think we can do it. It’s a shame because we really want to but I don’t think we’re gonna be able to,’ and then we finished the drink and then by the end we were on the phone to Ed at Birmingham Review and we were saying ‘yeah yeah no we’re happy to do it. Yeah, we’ll play it,’ and then we hung up and we were like ‘ah fuck…shall we book a practice next week?’”

It’s good though,” adds Greg, “because when you’ve got stuff like that it forces you to fucking get on with it because as a writer or whatever you can just dwindle on things and be like, ‘Ah it’s not good enough yet,’ but when it has to be ready it fucking is.”

Yeah definitely it’s good to have the boost up your bottom,” Ben agrees. It seems Liquid Cheeks like to work under pressure, as he goes on to tell of the band’s origin.

In all honesty, we were at The Dark Horse, and we’d had a miscommunication, me and Greg. And Greg was telling people we were releasing music on Monday and I was like ‘…are we?’ This was on like a fucking Friday. And we didn’t have a band name, we didn’t have anything.”

It was going to be Wet Face Society, wasn’t it?” Greg interjects.

Wet Face Society after David Bowie in ‘Five Years’, he ‘cried so much his was wet,’” quotes Ben, “I liked that that painted such a graphic picture, but it also kind of touches on our generation just being sad about life because of how fucked we are. That’s something I can definitely relate to. So we wanted to go along that kind of graphic sort of line, but yeah Liquid Cheeks just ended up being what it was.”

Greg grins to himself, goes to speak, then hesitates. “Because… no, I shouldn’t… it sounds like diarrhea do you not think?” I’m glad someone said it. Moving swiftly on, I ask the pair what their audience can expect from their set at The Victoria on Saturday 29th September.

Karaoke!” laughs Ben. Greg concurs. “It is glorified karaoke – for now anyway. It’s gonna become an actual band, but now it’s just glorified karaoke.”

We want to put a show on,” says Ben. “We wanna really make it quite personal, quite one-to-one. It’s just going to be just us on the stage, so there’s not that backbone of support of musicians. It’s just me, Greg, and a room of people.”

‘Serendipity’ – Liquid Cheeks

Liquid Cheeks will be supporting The Taboo Club at The Victoria on Saturday 29th September, as part of Birmingham Review’s live music showcase. Joining them on the bill will also be Stoke’s melodic electro four piece, Lilac Noise – playing their debut Birmingham gig.

For more direct event info visit the Facebook event page here, or for online ticket sales click here. 

For more on Liquid Cheeks, 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: Boulet Brothers’ Dragula @ The Nightingale Club 07.09.18

Boulet Brothers’ Dragula @ The Nightingale Club 07.09.18

Words & illustrations by Emily Doyle

The freaks and geeks of Birmingham’s drag scene have arrived at The Nightingale Club in their droves to welcome the Boulet Brothers on their first UK Tour. Dragula has finally made it to the UK, and it’s about time.

For the uninitiated, Dragula is to Ru Paul’s Drag Race what I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out of Here is to Pop Idol. The show started life as a live talent show on the LA and San Francisco nightlife scene, before becoming a straight-to-YouTube TV show with a cult audience. It’s since been picked up by Canadian cable channel OutTV, and with its third season in the works it shows no signs of slowing down.

The Boulet Brothers emerge to the strains of the show’s growling theme music. They are bathed in red light. Making no assumptions about their audience’s familiarity with the show, the brothers Dracmorda and Swanthula brief the crowd on Dragula’s aim to, “locate, articulate and elevate alternative forms of drag.” They make no bones about their stance on inclusivity, throwing only a little bit of shade at the Drag Race model when they declare that it, “doesn’t matter what’s between your legs” in drag. 

Vander Van Odd - Boulet Brothers’ Dragula @ The Nightingale Club 07.09.18Once the formalities are out the way, the Boulet Brothers introduce the first act of the evening: “Birmingham, put those filthy hands together, and welcome to the stage, Vander Von Odd!”

Resplendent in a Batwing cape and winged eyeliner sharp enough to cut a man, Vander Von Odd sets the tone for the evening. Crowned the ‘World’s First Drag Supermonster’ at the conclusion of Dragula’s first season, Odd has a lot to answer for. Her first performance is an impassioned lip sync routine to some euphoric electropop from Sweden’s iamamiwhoami. It’s triumphant, and culminates in an in-your-face nude illusion reveal. When Odd returns to the stage later in the evening, however, she’s upped her game – stumbling out into the spotlight, an umbilical cord of red silk tied around her waist, and disappearing behind the curtains. She wears a white latex ballerina outfit and picks her way across the stage en pointe to the strains of ‘Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow’. It’s fragile, arresting, and heartbreaking.

James Majesty - Boulet Brothers’ Dragula @ The Nightingale Club 07.09.18Not all of Dragula’s performers are pitching quite such high brow acts. Season 2 runner up, James Majesty, treats us to two salacious performances, spraying the crowd with beer and slapping the faces of the front row. A provocative routine to glam rockers Semi Precious Weapons sees Majesty fully nude by the end of the song – there’s no illusion here. Alongside her drag, Majesty has been both a sex worker and educator; her shameless attitude is contagious.

Season 1’s Meatball injects a little more humour into the evening with her performances. Strutting on stage with an old McDonald’s advert playing on the screen behind her, she adjusts her yellow bodysuit and produces a paper bag. Her wig is bright red, yellow highlights at the front mirroring the golden arches on the screen behind her. Her lipsync drips with attitude, cutting between Ke$ha’s ‘Woman’ and a monologue ripped straight from YouTube about a woman being denied an extra McRib at a drive-thru (if you’re as clueless as I was, search for ‘tell ‘em Carla sent you’ and all will be revealed). By the end she is tossing room temperature hamburgers (mercifully still wrapped) from the paper bag into the audience. The gentleman behind me catches one and eats it with vigour.

Meatball - Boulet Brothers’ Dragula @ The Nightingale Club 07.09.18The Boulet Brothers take some time out of the show to record a message from the crowd to Season 2’s Victoria Black, who’s had to pull out of the tour due to illness. In their words, however, her loss is our gain. Atlanta performer, Abhora, is here to take her place and presents what might be the most disarming performances of the night.

The word “Abhora” has barely left our host’s lips before the lights dim, and the crashing guitar of Marilyn Manson’s ‘Astonishing Panorama of the End Times’ fades in over the PA system. At the far end of the venue Abhora emerges, wading through the crowd on stilts. She’s draped in bin bags, looking like Disney’s Maleficent if Debbie Harry did her wardrobe. Perched atop her backcombed grey wig are a pair of Mickey Mouse ears. She throws herself against the room’s lit-up pillars, trusting audience members to get out of the way in time. As John 5’s revolting speed metal guitar solo kicks in, Abhora holds aloft a plush Donald Duck, strung up to a wooden crucifix like a marionette. She whirls it around as the crowd ducks to avoid being hit, before collapsing in a daring stage dive.

Perhaps the most hotly awaited performer of the evening is the winner of Dragula Season 2, Biqtch Puddin‘. She has a reputation for pushing the boundaries of weird, even in drag circles. Her first performance of the evening is centred around the unsolved homicide of child beauty queen JonBenét Ramsey, a theme clearly chosen for its tastelessness. However, it would probably be more provocative to an American audience – or at least one who weren’t mostly children themselves in 1996 when it played out in the US media.Abhora - Boulet Brothers’ Dragula @ The Nightingale Club 07.09.18

Puddin’s second performance, however, is bang on the money. Dressed in a grubby boiler suit, her hair and makeup feel like a nod to Tim Curry’s Dr Frank-n-Furter. Her lipsync, an old school mix of Whitney Houston, Tiffany, and Berlin, tells the tale of a janitor’s forbidden love for her anthropomorphised cleaning supplies. It’s as surreal as it sounds, and comes to a head with Puddin’ smeared with an ominous brown fluid as she applies a plunger to her face. It’s stomach turning, and it’s exactly what the Dragula fans are here for.

Towards the end of the evening, Dracmorda and Swanthula take some time out of the proceedings for a quick Q&A with the crowd. They refuse to comment on the forthcoming third season, but are otherwise happy to talk about anything from the show’s origins to break-up advice. (“Be polite about it, OK, because you could make a good friend out of that person. Look at what you agree with them on, just make the best of it… otherwise, if they really are awful you could just run ‘em down with your car, that’s another option.”) Fans are clearly heartened to have the chance to put their questions straight to the Boulet Brothers; in a community where the only real mainstream representation of drag queens are Ru Paul’s VH1 vetted glamazons, Dragula represents a punk spirit at the heart of the art form. It’s a breath of fresh air, and a call to arms for would be performers. The brothers have time for one more question:

Aside from filth, horror and glamour, what’s at the heart of a true monster?” muses Swanthula, before her brother interrupts – “Tenacity, tenacity, tenacity!” Dracmorda cries. “If you’re going to become the ‘World’s Drag Supermonster’, it is going to be difficult! It is not Ru Paul’s Drag Race-to-stardom! It is gonna kick your ass, you’re gonna have to perform in crazy places, but you know what? The fans are gonna be passionate, they’re gonna love you, and you’re gonna do fucking amazing.”

It’s on that note that the Boulet Brothers clear the stage for the night’s closing performance, and prepare for a meet and greet. There are smiles all round and the room is abuzz with speculation for the show’s next season. The brothers hint that some UK talent might make an appearance, but refuse to give any more away – it seems British fans will have to wait for it to air to see if they can spot any familiar faces…

For more on Boulet Brothers’ Dragula, visit

For more from Eat Sleep Drag Repeat, including further event listings and online ticket sales, visit

For more on The Nightingale Club, 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.