David Hoyle in I, Victim – Preview

Adam Lowe

The sensational anti-drag queen David Hoyle presents a very special performance in I, Victim, directed by Nick Blackburn, as part of Chelsea Theatre’s Sacred season. Expect polemic, pathos, provocative politicking and high comedy.

I, Victim is about learning to live with chaos and the violence of our society and not being beaten down by it.

David will name the potential oppressors in our lives: how families can become police, how our inner voices can imprison us. As part of the Sacred season, David and company will be making a series of short video pieces to go with the evening and there will be music and sound throughout, as well as the words of both the victimised and the nicer sorts of people who might be there to help us pick up the pieces. This will be an enpowering, transformational, defiantly living experience.

David came to prominence in the 1990s as the Divine David, a kind of anti-drag queen whose lacerating social commentary – targeting both bourgeois Britain and the materialistic-hedonistic gay scene, which he called ‘the biggest suicide cult in history’ – was offset by breathtaking instances of self-recrimination and even self-harm. Following a couple of outré late-night Channel 4 shows and a cameo in Velvet Goldmine, David killed the Divine David off during a spectacular show at the Streatham Ice Arena in 2000 and retreated to Manchester for ‘a period of reflection’.

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He returned to TV screens in 2005 in Chris Morris’s Nathan Barley, then began performing live again, under his own name. This time around, the chances of serious injury in any given show are greatly reduced, but David’s biting satire, bravura costumes, wicked comic timing and compelling charisma remain intact. As well as the Royal Vauxhall Tavern, with which he is most closely associated, he’s performed at the Soho Theatre, Battersea Arts Centre, National Portrait Gallery, Tate Britain, Barbican, South Bank Centre and Victoria & Albert Museum. David is back, all right.

‘He is raw, sometimes a bit frightening, but also thrilling in his look-no-hands recklessness.’ – The Guardian

‘There is nothing quite like it: bold and unique, electrifying and disarmingly humane’ – Time Out

‘David Hoyle is no drag’ – The Times


21-22 November, 8.45pm
Chelsea Theatre
(Buy tickets)

About Adam Lowe

Adam Lowe is an award-winning author, editor and publisher from Leeds, now based in Manchester. He runs Dog Horn Publishing and is Director and Writing Coordinator for Young Enigma, a writer development programme for LGBT young people. He sometimes performs as Beyonce Holes.