Panti: High Heels in Low Places

Panti Bliss has had a whirlwind of a few years and, naturally, she has more than a few fabulous stories to share. After calling out homophobes on national television, becoming embroiled in multiple lawsuits and appearing on more talk shows and interviews than you can shake a stick at, she’s here in Edinburgh to expose the latent homophobia that’s still found in the UK and Ireland.

Part TED Talk, part confessional, with a short drag act thrown into the mix

As you would expect from performer Irishman, Rory O’Neill, he dominates the Traverse’s stage in full drag - a charismatic force of nature to be reckoned with, poised to rip apart the patriarchy and its everyday microaggressions that continue to plague the LGBT+ community.

Part TED Talk, part confessional, with a short drag act thrown into the mix, Panti more than delivers in her incisive and informative (not to mention hilarious) performance. However it has to be said that the format feels a bit too restrictive for Panti’s boundless and raucous energy. She may be a figurehead and spokesperson for LGBT+ liberation, but she’s an entertainer above all else - as her freewheeling stories and razor sharp one liners go to show. What’s more, a certain mixture of raunchy wildness is crucial to making a drag show work, which Panti provides in spades, but the nature of performing on the Traverse’s main stage means that much of the show feels a bit too tame.

Nevertheless it’s entirely worth going to see the show just to be in the presence of Panti, she is truly unique and I defy you not to fall in love with her. The relationship between her and the audience is so effortlessly intimate that sharing stories and experiences feels completely natural and everyone gets a chance to share an embarrassing story or two – although no matter what, Panti’s grande finale will always take the cake...

So if you’ve never met a bona fide “national fucking treasure” here’s your chance – I promise you won’t regret it.

Reviews by Liam Rees

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The Blurb

The Queen of Ireland Panti invites you into her gender-discombobulating, stiletto shaped world, exposing stories behind the make-up – from performance giant to accidental activist – to reveal the national f*cking treasure she is today. In 2014, Panti landed herself in a legal shitstorm, dubbed Pantigate. Her speech about homophobia went viral, was broadcast worldwide, remixed by Pet Shop Boys, caused a parliamentary meltdown and fed into Ireland’s marriage equality referendum success. Hilarious and poignant, Panti traces her journey from small-town boy kicking against traditions to towering plastique woman in false lashes making history.

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