“Delightfully camp and full of personality”
I’m not often lost for words, but during the first half of this show I was rendered pretty speechless. To be fair, it’s a cabaret performance by six gutsy guys wearing nothing but short leather kilts and heels, so that should have given me a fair idea of what to expect.
However, there were layers of real intelligence, depth and unexpected artistry in among the madness – from the opening tightly choreographed, animalistic dance section – to the warrior dance-like motifs used throughout. In between the obligatory drag queen acts, of course.
In the piece we meet various characters, played out in different mediums, from a questionable contact improvisation dance depicting a one night stand, to an overly camp “lady of the night” known as Destiny. Perhaps the most tragic and painfully relatable of all was “Horsey”, an outcast who clearly had a heart of gold but had been misunderstood his whole life, and whose final scene was a painful reminder of some basic prejudices.
This is unapologetic cabaret – there were plenty of individual songs and dance numbers – my favourite of which was the moving I’m not lost. It was pleasing to see connections between each section, at least stylistically, even though for most of the show I was desperately searching and waiting for the one thing that would really tie all the the elements together and make it into a theatrical triumph. I almost got it when certain characters re-appeared and narratives started to entwine, but even by the show’s emphatic closing number I felt like the troupe hadn’t quite completed the circle.
Overall, the singing was good, the dancing and choreography were good and the acting was good. However for me this show was just missing that sparkle that could tip it into being spine-tinglingly exceptional.
K’rd Strip is absolutely not going to be everyone’s cup of tea – from a traumatic rape scene to a prostitute “shooting up” – both right at the front of the stage – this show doesn’t ’pull any punches. It’s edgy, it’s raw and it’s honest, shining a light on a subculture that is often taken for granted. It’s also delightfully camp and full of personality, if that sounds possible in one show. Definitely one for those with an open mind.
Reviewer: Steve Griffin (Seen 7 August)
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