Edinburgh Festival Fringe cabaret review: The LipSinkers: Evolution of the Fags, reviewed by The Scotsman’s Ben Walters.
The LipSinkers are a drag troupe who mime to pop songs. But their show isn’t A Night Out with Danny La Rue. It’s not RuPaul’s Drag Race. And it’s not for the mild at heart or the mess-averse. It’s weird, wild, funny and fresh.
It’s a perpetual-motion machine of radical queer fun. It’s low-budget, high-impact. It’s a mad, gorgeous, dreamlike cascade of emotions, apparitions and transformations that leaves you asking questions like: “Where did that tartan umbrella come from?” “Why was Orville the Duck so very sad?” and “Wait, was that a pair of giant jellyfish?’
This five-strong troupe comes out of east London’s alternative drag scene and the diversity of their influences shows in the different energy each performer brings to the stage, as well as their inventively outrageous outfits and unconventional song choices. Showtunes and pop hits mingle with Plastic Bertrand, Bill Wyman, The Gossip and The Pogues. The show is studded with spectacular set-pieces: Tinie Tempah’s Pass Out becomes an orchestrated car-crash of escalating debauchery; a disco version of There’s No Business Like Show Business yields a delirious swirl of togas, cavewomen, gorillas and palm trees; and a high-concept take on Bohemian Rhapsody is simple yet sublime.
The frenetic hullabaloo of these numbers belies their accomplished choreography, which often incorporates multiple costume changes within a single routine. The troupe can also deliver regimented hoofing and high-octane burlesque – and they use stillness to powerful effect too.
An inflatable shark features prominently and, like a shark, the LipSinkers keep moving forward. One number flows into the next, and the show evolves as they play with the set list and explore the venue’s potential.
This passion for the possibilities of performance clearly fuels the machine, and it’s the alchemy that transforms cheap clothes and pound-shop props into the stuff of fantasy. At one point, a bearded queen, flowers in her blue wig, channels Dylan Thomas, mouthing the words “out of the chaos would come bliss”. And in this utterly absurd, utterly queer, utterly joyous show, it does.
Liquid Room Annexe (Venue 276) until 29 August / listings
Published in The Scotsman on 27 August 2015
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