The LipSinkers: Evolution of the Fags

★★★
music review | Read in About 2 minutes
Published 18 Aug 2015

Before John Barrowman came along and single handedly ruined it, the gay scene was synonymous with counter culture and the avant garde. The LipSinkers hark back to a time when sexuality saw individuals driven underground into hedonistic, like-minded communities. Presenting themselves as The New York Dolls by way of Andy Warhol's Factory, they evoke a bygone era of consequence-free experimentation that many doubtless pine for.

In terms of their attitude, however, the troupe call to mind the punks who hang around Camden charging tourists to take their photos. When they unfurl a banner bearing the slogan, "Queens Rule", it may as well read "Anarchy in the UK". They've got the image down to a tee, but offer a mere facsimile of the spirit that originally informed the aesthetics.

The show consists of a handful of drag stars lip-syncing their way through a throbbing pop playlist. Their choreographed visuals are often chaotic, most notably the seaside romp accompanying The Pogues' 'Siesta', but elsewhere show tenderness and grace. Keith Harris's 'Orville's Song' allows for a surprisingly moving portrayal of self-doubt and insecurity, while 'Dance: Ten; Looks: Three' from Broadway musical A Chorus Line is a joyous ode to artifice and femininity.

When the performers attempt to make a serious statement, as with Jeffrey Lewis's 'What Would Pussy Riot Do?', it feels like empty posturing, but generally they attack each musical number with such vigour that the audience has no choice but to surrender itself to them.