Sunday, 13 September 2009

The Lady Boys of Bangkok Mile High Tour - The Sabai Pavilion, Times Square, Newcastle upon Tyne

The Lady Boys of Bangkok
Artistic Director:Phillip Gandey
Reviewer: Ian Cain

A glamorous slice of Bangkok nightlife has been broken off and transported to Newcastle upon Tyne. Funnier, flirtier, and even more fabulous than ever before, the Lady Boys of Bangkok are back in town.

Having played Newcastle, annually, for the past five consecutive years, their ‘Mile High’ show is a sensational, soar-away success. This high-altitude production blazes a spectacular jet-stream of fun, frivolity and frolics as it takes the audience on a first-class journey from the disco floor to the Broadway stage. Inspired by the world of aviation, the spectacular show glides high above the clouds and into the highest stratosphere of entertainment. Which other show boasts a line-up that includes Kylie Minogue, Girls Aloud, Abba, Shirley Bassey and The Nolan Sisters?

This is no ordinary ‘drag’ act. From the show-stopping choreography to the designer-inspired hand-made costumes, from the painstakingly immaculate make-up to the style and spectacle of the performances, sixteen of the world’s most stunningly beautiful show-girls – who just happen to be men! – entrance and entertain, in a party atmosphere, for over two hours.

You may think that if you’ve seen one female impersonator, you’ve seen them all. Think again. The originality, creativity and sheer professionalism of The Lady Boys of Bangkok sets them above and apart from the rest. Particular highlights include a solo performance in which one artiste performs both the male and female roles in the 1982 Rene and Renato duet, ‘Save Your Love’, an hilarious ‘Riverdance’ pastiche and an homage to classic movie love songs – all delivered in the inimitable style of The Lady Boys.

From the word go, the name of the game is enjoyment and the performance that I attended was a complete sell-out. As you might expect, the crowd were made up, predominantly, of the three g’s - girls, grannies and gays – and each and every one of them had the time of their lives. Throwing normal ‘theatre etiquette’ to the wind, the audience is encouraged to dance and sing along with the show. Indeed, audience participation is integral to some of the more raunchy, raucous routines, as a couple of unsuspecting men found to their embarrassment.

Taking the production values and standards into account, it is no surprise that the show is a headliner at two of the world’s largest performing arts festivals – the Edinburgh Fringe and the Brighton Fringe. It is an exotic extravaganza, in every sense of the word that dazzles, delights and dispels everyday worries and stresses and replaces them with a feel-good factor that should be made available from the NHS.

The Lady Boys of Bangkok, once again, have taken Tyneside by storm with their glitzy, glamorous and unique brand of entertainment. If you want to experience the vibrancy and hedonism of Thailand’s nightlife, take my advice and book early – this is the hottest ticket in town.

runs until Sat 10th October
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