King of the Fringe

Having never been to a Drag King pageant before I was not entirely sure what to expect from King of the Fringe. We arrived at St James’ street pop-up venue which turned out to be a very intimate space. There was a bar at one end and a makeshift stage-come-catwalk at the other adorned with various sparkling materials.

After everyone had arrived, got a drink and squished into the room our host took to the stage. His introduction of himself and the show was jam-packed with blatant innuendos and crude jokes which were greeted with cheering woops from the audience.

After everyone had arrived, got a drink and squished into the room our host took to the stage. His introduction of himself and the show was jam-packed with blatant innuendos and crude jokes which were greeted with cheering woops from the audience. Practically everything he said had a sexual undertone, even the songs we were treated to. He performed three musical numbers for us throughout the evening, and whilst his singing ability left a lot to be desired they were all enjoyable. His musical interludes interspersed the rounds of the pageant in which three Drag Kings took to the stage to showcase their manliness.

The first round was fashion followed by talent and rounded off with sleepwear. Some of the performances were brilliant, getting the audience going and clearly having a lot of fun themselves - some even had underwear thrown at them. Others were slightly more uncomfortable to watch and the ‘talent’ was questionable, but overall the three entries gave an entertaining and unique show. After all the rounds were complete a winner was crowned by way of audience applause.

Each round was followed by a fifteen minute break which slowed the evening down considerably. The enthusiasm that the contestants had built during their performances had to be built up again after each interval. It would perhaps have been better to have one break during the whole show, as it did get quite hot and cramped. Additionally, as we were a standing audience, it meant if you were at the back it was quite difficult to see. Therefore, having the breaks gave people an opportunity to reshuffle and if you were tactical you could work your way nearer the stage for a better view.

Given the amateur nature of the production it was done well, however the quality control in some areas could be improved on. The audience clearly had a lot of fun, although it definitely attracted a niche crowd, and there was even an after party for those that didn’t want the night to end so soon. 

Reviews by Anna Pitts

The Warren: Main House

Florence Foster Jenkins

★★★
St James's Street Pop Up

King of the Fringe

★★★
The Dukebox Theatre

Twenty To Something

★★★★
The Warren: Main House

Alice's Adventures in Wonderland

★★★
Old Police Cells Museum

These Precious Hidden Things

★★★★
Upstairs at Three and Ten

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★★★

Performances

Location

The Blurb

Who will be the first ever King of the Fringe? You be the judge. Drag Kings will compete to win the ultimate crown. Categories include talent, sleepwear and fashion. Join us at this LGBTQ-friendly event for drinks, dancing and a lot of fun! Want to enter the competition? Check out our facebook page facebook.com/kingofthefringe.