Chris Williams


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The Big Top, Cardiff, Thurs 26 Oct

A year in the planning, and a lot of that must have been costume design, Cardiff’s enigmatic, bearded drag queen, Felix Love (and partner Sam), brought their full cabaret show, The Dress Rehearsal, to The Big Top in Cardiff, a venue that’s no stranger to a bit of queer entertainment. Felix and Sam are well known in cardiff’s LGBTQ+ community, including  walking in the Pride Cymru Parade on several occasions.

Opening for the main show was Lucy Fur, who last year had cameo’d in the Absolutely Fabulous film. With deadpan delivery – integral to her comedy – she told us jokes we won’t forget anytime soon: accidental octogenarian vajazzling and a line about Marilyn Monroe that’s probably not far from the truth.

The Dress Rehearsal was a proper, classic cabaret show and boyfriends Felix and Sam obviously work well together, like a modern-day vaudeville couple. There was even a quick change magic trick and a bit of audience participation.

I wouldn’t have minded if there weren’t jokes at all – I loved the songs they chose to perform – from opening with Don’t Tell Mama from Cabaret (a song that, to my disappointment, was sidelined in the current touring production of the musical) and Putting on the Ritz, to Coin Operated Boy by punk-cabaret duo The Dresden Dolls (a number that came with an anecdote about Soaps’ Michelle Collins).

I can even forgive them for making me enjoy a Chris de Burgh song! – as Sam sang Patricia the Stripper (a song with which I’m not familiar), Felix indulged in a bit of ‘boylesque’, doing a striptease and even a fan dance.

In this world of modern drag, influenced by RuPaul’s Drag Race and lip-synching (a form which I also enjoy) it’s nice to see a more old fashioned (in the best possible way) style of drag entertainment.

I love a cabaret so it’s heartening to see people of a similar age to me still want to do it or watch it. As a drag queen Felix Love is amazing to look at (with several costume changes in the show, designed and created by Sam); it’s good to know that they’re just as entertaining to watch and listen to as well. I look forward to thier next show, I just hope they don’t keep us waiting too long.

words and photo Chris Williams

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