Alyssa, Memoirs of a Queen! ★★★ Vaudeville Theatre | June 7 - 13, 2021


Alyssa, Memoirs of a Queen! takes us on a whistle-stop tour through the life of drag star, Alyssa Edwards. Backed by four excellent dancers, the show certainly entertained the packed – but socially distanced – house who cheered at every opportunity. Alyssa wanted the show to reference the Liberace biopic Behind the Candelabra and her second outfit, which is a riot of rhinestones and twinkling lights, is jaw-droppingly over the top! This should have been the finale costume. The Vaudeville's stage isn't large and leaves the well performed dance routines rather cramped, and like with most drag queens the songs are lip-synced. To get full enjoyment one really needs to have a more than passing acquaintance with RuPaul's Drag Race as Alyssa spends much of the second half of the show reminiscing about her time there. Alyssa maintains that she “doesn't read scripts ... she is the script,” but some editing might have given needed pace to the second act; many of the anecdotes just aren't that interesting. Maybe you had to be there. Banter with audience members produces plenty of laughs and is probably Alyssa's best talent, maybe she could develop this element rather more. She certainly looks spectacular in the outfits and gets the audience to their feet at the final curtain. How do you solve a problem like Alyssa? Maybe the answer is simply to don an even bigger wig.

Rated: ★★★

Reviewed by D.S.J.
Photo by Pamela Raith.

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