HOME’s new outdoor venue – nestled between high-rises and storage facilities just off Medlock Street – has a distinctly dystopian yet extravagant aesthetic. From the abandoned buses and written-off cars that surround you, to the giant disco ball and spacesuit suspended above the stage, the team behind ‘Homeground’ have transformed a concrete wasteland into… an extremely glamorous concrete wasteland. Complete with a diverse mix of food and drink stalls, and seating up to 400 people at socially distanced tables, Homeground is a fun and eccentric new space to enjoy Manchester’s art and culture scene.
It seemed like the perfect setting therefore, for Queeriosity’s one-off theatre spectacular, “Queers of our city”. Launching the return of Queeriosity’s weekly cabaret show for the summer, the night featured a diverse and eclectic line-up of queer artists and drag-performers – and more strip-teases than you could shake a stick at.
The cabaret show, hosted by drag queens Donna Trump and Narcissa Nightshade, was a multi-faceted celebration: of queer artists, of gender fluidity, and of the return of live performance. They certainly achieved all three of these celebrations, managing to create a carefree atmosphere where for two hours, you were able to forget about COVID, sinking into a bubble of weird and wonderful performances that made you want to get up from your seat and dance (not permitted due to social distancing… so, you were able to almost forget about COVID.)
The night got off to a slightly shaky start – two performers were unable to come due to self-isolating, and both hosts admitted to being nervous to be back on stage – but once the performances got underway, the audience were laughing, singing, and bopping on their chairs. The first act was drag-king Christian Gay, who opened the show with a lip-synced medley of Hercules songs, dressed as the Disney demi-god himself and performing a strip-tease down to an ab-suit. The choice to open with a drag-king rather than queen seemed a deliberate one, and was a nod to the overall ethos of the show. This was an inclusive event, a sentiment well-put by Donna Trump during the opening, who said “we have to support our drag-queens, kings, things and swings. Some people think gender is a binary thing, but we know it’s not, don’t we darlings?”
The evening saw a variety of acts perform, from more traditional acts – there was a burlesque performance from Coco Deville, and a lip-synced performance of “You Can’t Hurry Love” from Blaq Ivory, backed up by hand puppet Supremes – to more experimental acts, such as an interpretative dance from performer Frog Boi, and a performance of original songs from gender-fluid artist Monopoly Phonic. This night was a celebration of the diversity that drag has to offer, and the atmosphere was one of support for queer artists – Donna Trump and Narcissa Nightshade MCed with sharp-tongued affection and admiration, and all performers sat in the audience to watch the other acts perform, clapping, cheering and whooping along with the rest of the crowd.
Some of the particular fan favourites were the more modern performances – a dance sequence from House of Noir to a house cover of Janelle Monae was particularly popular, as was an ethereal acrobatic staff-twirling act from Eva Serration. The comedy acts were also well-enjoyed: the audience were in hysterics at a condensed 6-minute retelling of Titanic from Misty Chance, complete with an elderly Rose dancing with saggy boobs swinging from a pink nightgown. Similarly, Lily Snatchdragon’s sexy Ewok striptease got a big laugh, as well as Vin Dicktiv’s Freddie Mercury covers.
All in all, this night was a huge success, managing to create an uplifting, celebratory and exuberant atmosphere (in spite of social distancing and wind chill), and will have many Mancunians impatient for the return of Queeriosity’s weekly cabaret. After all, whose weekend is complete without a nipple tassel or two?
Queeriosity’s weekly cabaret show, hosted by Donna Trump and Narcissa Nightshade, will return weekly from 24th July at Cruz 101. Tickets are on sale now.