Can we take a moment to appreciate that drag is having a moment that doens’t seem in danger of ending any time soon? And while cross-dressing is hardly new on stage the way drag has been embraced by the E&P, from drag cabaret at the Everyman to Vinegar Strokes’ unhinged Lady Bracknell, the theatres (and Liverpool) have embraced the kings and queens. Which brings us to Death Drop 2 Back in the Habit.
There’s a plot of a kind – a priest must make his way to a remote convent in search of a ring, ahem. But it’s haunted, or something, which is enough on which to hang a series of amusing sketches that let the cast do their thing. Think of it as a supernatural, super-NSFW they-dunnit.
Back In the Habit is fast, furious and filthy, so much so it could threaten to be one-note, especially if that note is stuck at 11. But Back In The Habit is done and dusted in 120 minutes (interval included) and the action screeches along. There’s plenty of Noises Off stuff between the tight cast to draw attention to their inherent nonsense – as ever, the ad-libbed interplay between the players is as much fun as the scripted laughs – but it’s done so well you’re unlikely to notice.
Everyone is welcome, we hear, apart from TERFs and Tories. We can’t vouch for the whether the latter would enjoy a magnificently blasphemous couple of hours, but the former might be confounded by the appearance of Louis Cyfer and Corrina Buchan with their male parts – not to mention Victoria Scone (Drag Race UK’s first cis female contestant in an assured turn). Fellow alumna Jujubee lends some star quality and an amusingly wonky accent; Kitty Scott-Claus and River Medway round up the punnable cast.
Imagine The Exorcist crossed with Black Narcissus directed by John Waters and you may be there or thereabouts. It’s funny, naughty and it may scandalise Playhouse audiences of days past, but there is real craft on show too.
No doubt honed by hours of stand-up, cabaret, music and acting (if Drag Race has taught us anything, it’s that only being good at beating your face just isn’t enough), the ensemble cast riff, react and (eye)roll their hearts out.
Death Drop 2 Back in the Habit
Until Saturday 11 February
Images by Matt Crockett