Tuesday, 21 June 2016

Review: The Donkey Show at Proud Camden

The Donkey Show 
Proud Camden
Reviewed on Saturday 18th June 2016

The Donkey Show is a high energy disco funk 'theatrical experience' loosely based on Shakespeare's A Midsummer Nights Dream. Originally created by Diane Paulus and Randy Weiner in 1999, the show ran for over 6 years off-Broadway before opening in various countries around the world. 

Now the show has opened in London, directed by Ryan McBryde with choreography by Lucy Ridley and musical direction by Paul Herbert. The show consists of almost every classic disco tune you could imagine. Fusing live vocals, circus and dance, the 90 minute show is a whirlwind. Men play women and women play men, whilst hunky fairies, with zero percent body fat, spin from the ceiling, spreading glitter and love. 

The star of the show is most definitely the host and compere James Gillan who, as endearing drag queen 'Lady Puck', glides around 'Club Oberon' on disco skates whilst navigating the audience, aided by her hunky fairy assistants, as they sing, dance and somersault their way around this immersive theatrical space. 

Other stand out performers include Siobhan Athwal as the all singing and all dancing 'Dmitri', and Bronte Barbe as 'Helen', both adding humour to the evening. Each performer holds their own, and although the acoustics of the night club may not be the best for live vocals, especially when delivered against backing tracks, this did nothing to detract from the fun. The atmosphere is contagious as the audience is encouraged to participate and sing along. Afro wigs, bell bottom trousers and psychedelic outfits were aplenty in the crowd, and participants are brought into the action to dance with the performers - this is most definitely an adult production. Alcohol is on sale throughout the show, encouraging the audience to party to the max. The venue even stays open after the performance and attendees can dance the night away into the early hours of the morning. 

The Donkey Show cleverly blurs the lines between musical and cabaret, with stilt walkers, aerial acrobatics, dancing disco balls, and featuring a strong cast of professionals. However you choose to label it, it's most definitely a shining new gem in the London entertainment scene. But be warned... this is a fully immersive touch and feel experience with no option to blend into the background. For the wall flowers amongst us, I suggest you sit this one out and leave it to the hardcore partygoers. 

Reviewed by Leon Lopez

The Donkey Show runs at Proud Camden until 21st August 2016.
Photo Credit: Jane Hobson 

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