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- Review: Alfie Ordinary: Help! I Think I Might be Fabulous Tour - 7 June, 2016
Alfie Ordinary, the self-proclaimed ‘son of a drag queen’, has completed his debut solo tour. But luckily for you, Sidney Law was at The Royal Vauxhall Tavern to catch all of the action and report back. Writing in third person is weird.
Now if you were expecting an ordinary drag show full of lip sync, double entendre, and camp goings on – then you’d be only slightly disappointed. Alfie Ordinary delivers more than his stage name might lead you to believe: a show that proudly puts gender-bending at its heart and actually leaves you thinking more than ‘that was a bit of fun’.
But let’s start at the beginning (a very good place to start): This tour is a showcase for Ordinary to present his character and talents to the UK. He is a drag prince with a mission: to convince men to become more fabulous. But how does he do that?
Alfie takes the audience on a musical journey that spans his time at a fabulous school for young men and his dealings with a closeted fabulous friend, John. Because Alfie has lived a privileged life of fabulousness (due to his drag parents) he’s unable to empathise with John’s conservative attitude towards his own fabulousness – and this is where the music comes in.
What follows is an hour of Alfie convincing both the audience and ‘John’ that gender is a construction, and that masculinity is a destructive component of human culture. But of course he does that by singing the Village People’s YMCA in the style of Kate Nash.
Fear not, though! What could’ve been a copy-and-paste drag performance was in fact a cleverly handled commentary on society’s obsession with masculinity. Unlike a lot of drag, Alfie’s vocals were at the forefront of the performance and minus a note-or-two they definitely delivered. Though it’s worth pointing out, Alfie’s developed character left me unable to decipher whether his mistakes were intentional or scripted beforehand.
Instrumentally, the performance was a mixture of backing tracks and live piano – played by Alfie himself. Given the choice, I would’ve preferred to listen to an entire show with Alfie sat at the piano, but appreciate that without it we would’ve missed out on a cameo from Whitney Houston herself. (See below photo.)
Although the subject of the performance was a serious one, its delivery made for a campy, enjoyable experience that would be at home in a large theatre. With two puppets, three costume changes, and a hilarious exchange with Siri, Alfie delivered a show well worth seeing.
If you appreciate getting your money’s worth, keep an eye out for Alfie’s name in your local venues.
Words: Sidney Law
Photos: Alfie Hale