8 January 2024

A Christmas Gaiety - The Glasshouse

When I first heard about a show at the Glasshouse combining drag and the Royal Northern Sinfonia I nearly spat out my tea; then my second though - what a genius combination! A Christmas Gaiety is already a popular festive show in San Francisco, so it made sense for conductor Edwin Outwater and Drag Legend Peaches Christ to bring the show to the UK. The show went down so well at the Royal Albert Hall last year that luckily they decided to bring it to a Northern audience! 

The RNS conducted by Edwin Outwater, Tim Nelson and Peaches Christ (Tynesight Photography) 

I knew that Drag Race royalty Baga Chipz was on the bill, but days before it was announced that Drag Race Season 5 finalists Tomara Thomas and Michael Marouli were also appearing. Their addition made total sense due to the North East dominating the top three places (unfortunately Ginger Johson was performing in London that night). Regular Gaiety performer Le Gateau Chocolat was ill, but thankfully local drag queens stepped in at the last minute. 

Tomara Thomas reading 'Twas The Night Before Christmas

My jaw hit the floor when host Peaches brought out adult film star Teddy Bryce in nothing more than a posing pouch and A LOT of tattoos. It was fun seeing some of the RNS squirm a bit at points (especially when he put a ball gag in Peaches' mouth and rode her around the stage like a horse/lap danced an audience member) but I imagine the musicians were secretly loving the chance to do something so different! 

The self-appointed "Most Famous Woman in Britain" Baga Chipz channelled Shirley Bassey and belted out Goldfinger, not an obvious Christmas choice but it suited the venue - I didn't realise that her voice was that good! The Queens that stepped in due to illness were honestly a revelation - Ruby Murry is massively talented and blew the audience's socks off with her operatic voice. Gladys Duffy's unique baritone take on Walking In The Air was hilarious. I was a bit shocked when bona fide opera singer Tim Nelson came out to sing as a result! 

Gladys Duffy (Tynesight Photography) 

Tomara Thomas reading 'Twas the Night Before Christmas was something I didn't expect but worked because it was so preposterous, and Drag Race Runner Up Michael Marouli got everyone in the festive spirit with (2023 Christmas No 1) Last Christmas. The highlight of the night was the dirty version of the Twelve Days of Christmas, where at points I couldn't believe what I was singing in the same place where I go to hear Prokofiev and Mozart. 

The Finale 

It was definitely NOT a holy night with the innuendos flowing and I'm sure it's the first time the audience there has collectively moaned at the crack of a whip. It was a hilarious, magical and zany night - I really hope A Christmas Gaiety becomes an annual tradition at the Glasshouse - what a way to celebrate queer culture and chosen family. It was probably the best night out I had over the festive period and completely put me in the Christmas spirit(s). 

Take a look at the Glasshouse's 2024 Programme here - https://theglasshouseicm.org/whats-on/

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