Thursday, February 29

Death Drop – The Alexandra, Birmingham

Having started life in the West End, Death Drop comes to Birmingham to bring its unique twist on the murder mystery genre to brighten the city.

It is 1991, the Lady of Shantay Mansion invites a seemingly random group of personalities to celebrate a special anniversary. However, on this stormy night strange things soon start to occur. As secrets are revealed, will anyone make it out alive?

I have never seen a show like it, it brings the art of Drag (be it Queens or Kings) into a mainstream theatre. The lines of gender are blurred, all you see are larger than life characters as they fill the stage with their performances, and it works, it makes you wonder why this hasn’t happened before.

This is part pantomime, with slap stick and tongue twisters, part musical with a couple of cracking numbers, part comedy and part mystery. It doesn’t take itself seriously, the 4th wall is broken a few times adding to the charm. Death Drop nods to the Ru Paul Drag Race TV show that made some of the performers famous outside of the drag circuit. It is reminiscent of the acting challenges, but on a much bigger and better scale. Having said that, no knowledge of Drag Race is required to enjoy this production.

Everyone is a joy to watch, they seem to feed off each other’s energy and take it to the next level. When all the cast are on stage it is hard to know where to look, everyone hams it up at every opportunity. The comedy timing is perfect, even gags that should wear thin continue to tickle the funny bone. Vinegar Strokes opens the show with a song that sets the scene and then glides around the stage with a delicious, affected accent. Writer and performer Holly Stars plays the role of the three Bottomley sisters and gets a large portion of laughs from both the lines and actions. Washed up pop star Shazza is played by Willam who opens Act 2 with another cracking song and channels her inner diva. Phil Maker and Rich Whiteman are the male characters played by Georgia Frost and Richard Energy, they ensure they are not overlooked on a stage of colourful drag queens, no mean feat in a vest and boxers and an old fashioned nightgown and cap.

Death Drop looks stunning, from the expected outrageous costumes and the grand set to the gorgeous lighting (and lightening) effects.

A show like this will not be everyone’s cup of tea. If you are expecting a serious mystery with a complex plot, look elsewhere. If on the other hand if you want a night of pure entertainment, laughs and a sprinkle of naughty humour, this is your show. It is a riot of colour, laughs and perfectly over the top performances.

Death Drop runs at The Alexandra Birmingham until Saturday 27th November

Reviewer: Annette Nuttall

Reviewed: 23rd November 2021

North West End UK Rating: ★★★★★