Nine months ago I made a confession. A rather public confession to you, the readers of Vada. The words “I have never met a drag queen” now seem distant, having been to the premiere of Topsie Redfern’s latest show, Bridezilla, last Wednesday.
On the hunt for a husband still, despite raising her profile since becoming Drag Idol’s 2013 runner-up, Topsie Redfern can’t find the man of her dreams. Having caught a touch of ‘Middleton’ syndrome, Topsie has set her sights high, hoping to lose her crown as an eligible Bachelorette and bag a Prince! Getting that call she’s been dreaming of, she soon realises that being a Princess isn’t as Disney as it seems! Inviting us along with her on the search, Topsie treats her audience to an evening of variety which promotes a high level of audience participation that I promise you, you will regret you missed!
Taking a seat in the patriotically decked out Manbar & watching the abundance of staff channelling James Bond (or at least a particularly groomed James Bond equivalent) I can’t help but admit I was a little apprehensive of the night ahead. I’d heard rave reviews of Topsie’s talent and of course had done a little research before attending the show, but in all honesty I had no idea what to expect. I think I assumed it’d be a night of low-brow penis jokes with a few showtunes thrown in to keep the crowd happy. Whilst there wasn’t a shortage of penis jokes – in fact a whole song dedicated to the organ – I found Topsie to be quick-witted and intelligent. She captivated her audience with her soprano act, recounting tales of her woeful love life, all while remaining current. Weaving issues such as Putin’s treatment of the LGBT community into her plot, getting a laugh, and driving home a reassuring message (as well as a particularly good line about putin-g it…I shan’t ruin it.)
Darting around the venue, Topsie was a rocket in heels, coaxing audience members on stage to temporarily compère her show. Somewhere between Topsie’s first and third costume change it was my turn to be dragged up to the stage. The moment I had dreaded was upon me (although I had always known sitting in the front row was a shoe-in for audience participation.) What I hadn’t planned for was my friend pointing straight at me when Topsie asked for a volunteer! Luckily, I wasn’t alone on stage as I was joining Claudio in a battle to prove myself worthy of being Princess Topsie’s bodyguard. After a quickfire round of tongue-in-cheek interrogation, Claudio and I were pitted against each other in a push up competition. After a fairly easy win for Claudio, post-show Topsie admitted my face had dropped at the words ‘push up’. The crowd voted and I was back in my seat with my heart racing.
Despite what I thought was my absolute hate of audience participation, I enjoyed being pulled up on stage and didn’t feel like I was being laughed at (even when busting out my worst dance moves). this I think is largely down to Topsie’s relaxed style as a cabaret artist. I had a perfectly delightful evening amongst a pretty diverse crowd of people, who were all put at ease by the charm of Nathan’s glamorous alter-ego Topsie. I whole-heartedly recommend getting tickets for this limited run of shows at Manbar which is helping to raise money for ‘Cancer is a Drag’. Who knows, perhaps you’ll see me again. I’ll be in the front row!