Along with the full dose of bitchiness and belly laughs, the Trolley Dollies take the audience into their confidence and a little deeper into the life of a drag queen in their new show, NON-Specific, at Gate 69.
‘Choosing’ to be a woman in a man’s world can be fabulously funny, but it is definitely not just a big joke. The new show really is fabulous and funny; it is also poignant and thought-provoking as the three brassy babes bravely reveal their more fragile side.
The moment the gorgeous Cathy Specific greets us on the red carpet we are whisked away into a world of make-believe. Three former rugby players in enormous wigs, 9 inch heels and fish net stockings make us scream with laughter and sing along loudly as they dust off some classic numbers that unite a diverse crowd. Signalling their wide appeal, groups of all ages, colours and creeds include various birthday parties (at least one 40th and a 70th) and a 40th wedding anniversary.
A tasty and generous tapas-style dinner of meats, cheeses and pates is served on a Lazy Susan on each table before the show. It is great for tucking into before the show and picking at throughout the rest of the evening. The spread on the Lazy Susan would be more than enough but the little extras (a delicious starter of lentil soup, warm bread and ice cream cones) served fresh from the kitchen by the stars themselves adds a lovely touch.
I am not sure it was the usefulness of the Lazy Susan that sold the girls on it; more likely, it was the chance to say Lazy Susan a few times during the show, a silly little pleasure which has proved irresistible to me too. Sometimes it is hard not to be silly, but I am happy to give myself a break here. (I manage to keep up the show of being grown up and serious a lot of time.)
It’s great that the girls are giving themselves a break too. Underneath the bravado and the fabulosity there are three sensitive, if gritty, souls. It is pretty brave of Cathy, Molly and Holly to let us into their dressing room and take off the masks for a while.
They switched between being the big and beautiful bombshells belting out big numbers on stage and three blokes dressed as girls sharing stories about coming out and being stung by the cruel jokes and taunts about being clowns.
This confiding in the audience never feels self-indulgent and there is plenty of bitchy banter to remind you just how tough these three are. A flow of cracking, original one-liners keeps the mood light and the laughter flowing.
The dressing room scenes have their sad moments, but it feels like these three fabulous show girls are somehow having the last laugh. Expect the show to sell out!
NON-Specific stars Brendan van Rhyn as Cathy, Rudi Jansen as Molly and writer-director Christopher Dudgeon as Holly. Additional lyrics are by Brendan van Rhyn, sound and lighting is by Chad Goldsworthy, set design is by Eddie du Plooy, wigs are by Tessa Denton and costumes by Lloyd Kandlin and Kyle Jardine. Choreography is by Sven-Eric Muller and musical direction by Melissa van der Spuy.
NON-Specific runs until July 27 with performances from Wednesday to Saturdays at 8:15pm, with recommended arrival time at 6:30pm for a warm embrace from Cathy Specific on the red carpet and dinner before the show. Cost is R520 to R599 pp and includes the show and dinner. Booking is through www.gate69.co.za or 021 0351627. PG16