Make-up

One day perhaps someone will write a play about a drag queen where, beneath the frock and below the wig, above the high heels and under the layers of slap exists a man who is happy, contented, at ease with the world and not forever bitching about the profession he has chosen and who didn’t have a dysfunctional relationship with his father. There was La Cage aux Folles, of course, but until then we have Make-up.

Make-up needs a serious makeover.

Some writers and performers have explored this genre with great success and heartrending tales. Harvey Fierstein in Torch Song Trilogy probably tops the bill in that and closer to home and with a slightly stage character Peter Duncan gave us Dame. Unfortunately, this piece, written by Andy Mosely and performed by Moj Taylor for NoLogoProductions at the Rialto Theatre as part of the Brighton Fringe, doesn’t come close to either of those.

The format and the metaphor are standard for this type of show. Lady Christina does her final number to rapturous applause and enters the dressing room where over the course of the one-hander the make-up comes off and the costume is exchanged for a shirt and jeans, while the alter-ego converses in the mirror with real-life Christopher Laneghan. It had been yet another night on another stage at another pub where he has as much contempt for his audiences as he does for the next generation of drag queens. The big, if rather unsurprising question, is whether he can forsake it all and make a living without a frock.

After a very slow start, Taylor works his way into Laneghan’s past and reveals the mostly downs of his childhood; his father’s disgust at having produced such a boy, the bullying at school and the sad tale of his mother driven to deceit in order to see her boy after her husband had kicked him out of the house. He tells it with some emotion, but largely in a gloomy monotone, statically ensconced in his chair amidst a spartan set, wearing an understated costume.

The piece is undoubtedly well-intentioned and a heartfelt attempt to reveal what lies beneath the surface of so many performers, but there is absolutely nothing new here. Make-up needs a serious makeover.

Visit Show Website

Reviews by Richard Beck

Jermyn Street Theatre

Relatively Speaking

★★★★
Omnibus Theatre

Small Change

★★★★
Pleasance

Prison Games

★★★★
Queen's Theatre Hornchurch

Beginning

★★★★
Traverse Theatre

This is Paradise

★★★
theSpaceTriplex

Intricate Rituals

★★

Since you’re here…

… we have a small favour to ask. We don't want your money to support a hack's bar bill at Abattoir, but if you have a pound or two spare, we really encourage you to support a good cause. If this review has either helped you discover a gem or avoid a turkey, consider doing some good that will really make a difference.

You can donate to the charity of your choice, but if you're looking for inspiration, there are three charities we really like.

Mama Biashara
Kate Copstick’s charity, Mama Biashara, works with the poorest and most marginalised people in Kenya. They give grants to set up small, sustainable businesses that bring financial independence and security. That five quid you spend on a large glass of House White? They can save someone’s life with that. And the money for a pair of Air Jordans? Will take four women and their fifteen children away from a man who is raping them and into a new life with a moneymaking business for Mum and happiness for the kids.
Donate to Mama Biashara now

Theatre MAD
The Make A Difference Trust fights HIV & AIDS one stage at a time. Their UK and International grant-making strategy is based on five criteria that raise awareness, educate, and provide care and support for the most vulnerable in society. A host of fundraising events, including Bucket Collections, Late Night Cabarets, West End Eurovision, West End Bares and A West End Christmas continue to raise funds for projects both in the UK and Sub-Saharan Africa.
Donate to Theatre MAD now

Acting For Others
Acting for Others provides financial and emotional support to all theatre workers in times of need through the 14 member charities. During the COVID-19 crisis Acting for Others have raised over £600,000 to support theatre workers affected by the pandemic.
Donate to Acting For Others now

Performances

Location

The Blurb

Lady Christina leaves the stage at the end of another performance in another venue above another pub. She's tired of metro-sexual audiences looking for something a little risqué to tell their mothers about, she's tired of young drag queens making it look easy, and she's tired of putting on the make-up and becoming someone else every night. In short, Drag has become a drag, and tonight could be her last ever show. But when the make-up starts to come off, the face in the mirror takes Christopher Laneghan back to the life he lived before she came along. Can he live, if living is without her? Step off the stage, leave the glamour and the costumes behind, and get to know the person behind the make-up

Most Popular See More

Dear Evan Hansen

From £30.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Wicked

From £24.00

More Info

Find Tickets

The Play That Goes Wrong

From £24.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Come From Away

From £24.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Mary Poppins

From £24.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Pretty Woman: The Musical

From £18.00

More Info

Find Tickets