Review: The Dragprov Revue

© ChrisWRCox Photography © ChrisWRCox Photography
© ChrisWRCox Photography © ChrisWRCox Photography

The Dragprov Revue – a title born out of the marrying together of drag and improv. But in the case of this drag king/drag queen double act, the drag seems almost secondary. The gift Ed Scrivens (‘Eaton Messe’) and Francesca Forristal (‘Christian Adore’) have for improvisation is what carries the show – a talent made clear in March at Oxford’s Jericho Tavern, during a preview for their upcoming Edinburgh Fringe run.

Scrivens and Forristal – expertly accompanied by pianist Joe Zacaroli – tell the story of their characters’ relationship, through sketches and songs informed by audience suggestions. Early on in the show an audience member is invited up on stage and quizzed about their life – and not in a way that embarrasses them. The performers then dedicate a song to said spectator, shaped by what they’ve learnt of them. For the gig this publication witnesses, lyrics surrounding the punter’s fondness of poetry are rapidly conjured up, in a segment that also establishes both Scrivens and Forristal as talented vocalists.

We are treated to the tale of how the characters first met. For this Tavern show, a shout-out from the audience dictated that this meeting took place inside a human stomach. For this, Forristal stuck to the role of Adore whilst her partner portrayed the various parts of a person’s insides, simply differentiating between them through changing his position on the stage and giving each one distinctive character traits, much to the crowd’s pleasure.

In another passage Forristal is asked to sing about sausages being Christian Adore’s best friend in a country style, a challenge the artist rises to, again showcasing a real ability to speedily come up with lyrics. The drag king is then asked to address the same topic as if performing a song from a sexually charged cabaret night; Christian Adore thrusts like it’s second nature, and appropriately and inventively declares: “My sausage is my best friend.”

It’s heartening to see both Scrivens and Forristal genuinely laughing at what the other comes up with at times, adding a further reminder that what’s happening onstage can be as new to the performers as it is to the audience, during a show that truly has improvisation at its heart.

 

The Dragprov Revue

9 June | The Jericho Tavern, Oxford

16 July | The Miller, London

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