What is a Ladyboy exactly? How different the founding principle of The Ladyboys of Bangkok is from any old drag show you see in Brighton. Having never been, but hearing many stories about the show, I decided to take a look on Thursday 15th May. It was an experience that answered my first question but inspired many others as a result.
The first thing a Ladyboy is: a convincing female. Though I cannot say a great deal about the dancing, the chaps walk with the poise of beauty that only women can have (sorry guys). Unlike drag queens, Ladyboys are not a humourous confusion of gender ideas, but evoke curiosity through an exotic public display of the feminine, that hints at masculinity underneath.
Misunderstand me not- their show is not a pinnacle of high culture. This is entertainment with a confident and mischievous attitude. The stunning choreography makes up for some awkward costumes and macho gracelessness. The Chart Hits pop music is mimed, but performed with an appropriate enthusiasm. Ladyboys of Bangkok is all about the strange and opaque image. It is not a commentary on the difficulties of the human condition, funny or otherwise.
I came away with from show feeling disappointed that I could not know the Ladyboys a little more. What do they do when they are not performing? How do they feel about doing what they do? The program paints a luxuriant picture of Thailand. I feel a little as though the Ladyboys bring this picture with them, in exchange for themselves. It would seem that it takes a lot to be a Ladyboy. For its entertainment and uniqueness, Ladyboys of Bangkok is definitely worth seeing.