There are some predictable events in Brighton and Hove; a seagull swooping down on your lunchtime sandwich, sequins on the beach after Pride, and the Ladyboys of Bangkok strutting their stuff during the Fringe. They’ve moved to Hove this year on the Lawns in the Sabai marquee, but that doesn’t mean that they’ve got more genteel. The Ladyboys show is a whole experience and there’s a bar both in the entrance and in the main theatre. Large circular tables are allocated and filled with groups of people set on having a good time.
It’s entertaining and lively; leave the kids at home though
The second song in sees a more mature 'Ladyman' prowling around the audience looking for blokes to drag on stage to gurn and grope over. In fact, in the first half of the show is much more sexualised than I remember it from 15 years ago. My memory is of showgirls, Kylie and Madonna, but this 21st greatest showgirls tour has much more bump and grind. I wasn’t expecting Brecht but a whole audience shouting ‘penis’ at the comedian was a little unsettling.
The audience is up for it though and in the second half there’s a lot of dancing and hands in the air as they get warmed up. The Ladyboys know their target crowd and understand that Sweet Caroline and the Bay City Rollers tribute make for a lively atmosphere. The bar staff join in as well. There are a few numbers from a Ladyboys boy band interspersed with comedy and glitz and glamour. Big moments include a Queen tribute and a RuPaul parody. The odd song of surprising pathos and vulnerability as well adds some depth to the bawdiness.
At the end I’m won over by the self proclaimed ‘Biggest Party in Town’ and the closing numbers raise the marquee roof. The crowd exit as the audience for the 9pm show are already ordering Thai food and prosecco ready for their performance. The Ladyboys work hard and deliver a package that has been packing them in for 21 years and the formula seems to be successful. It’s entertaining and lively; leave the kids at home though.