Max has something to say, and she’s going to say it to the entire bus – “Do you think drag is just men dressing up in women’s clothes?”

Life’s A Drag, produced by Gas Money Productions, is written and performed by Nancy Brabin Platt at Jack Studio Theatre. Her character, Max, is living a typical queer-young-adult lifestyle – chaotic nights out resulting in waking up in questionable places, a rocky relationship with her mother, and dealing with TERFs being despicable to her best friend Beth, with whom she might be in love.

The stage and technical design by Ellie Campbell and Fifi Bechler, respectively, is very aesthetically pleasing: pink everywhere. I especially loved how the Diva was featured on the monitors littering the stage, Rent’s ‘Over the Moon’ style. The chairs (representing the bus), sitting chair (representing Beth’s/Max’s house), and ironing board (representing Max’s mother’s space) allows Platt to go to different areas of London without leaving the stage. The clever writing had me laughing aloud, and Max is very easy to like – I rooted for her the entire show. She showcases her big heart with her relationship with Beth and her passion for queer representation, justice, and equality with her confrontations.

As it is a one-woman show, Platt plays multiple characters, putting on different persons and accents with ease. I was especially impressed at her persona of her mother – an overbearing, uneducated, stuck-in-her-thinking woman who refuses to listen to her daughter and abuses her. It was a beautiful thing to see Max develop in the 65-minute show, coming out of her shell as she confronts strangers about their homophobic and transphobic conversations, as well as the climactic end scene of her finally performing in drag. She gives a very powerful monologue, where she points out that drag isn’t just for men; women (even more than men) have the right to liberate themselves from the sexualization of them by performing in drag.

At the end of the day, Life’s A Drag captures a few days of an 18-year-old girl who is figuring out her identity. While it has heart, I didn’t find it as compelling as I’d hoped. I would have loved to see more discourse on female drag queens. I also would have loved to see more of Max’s Drag Diva and her life after first drag performance – how it affects her, what Beth’s reaction would be, and what her mother would think and how it’d affect their already strained relationship. The call to streamline female drag is an important one; this play is certainly intriguing, and I can’t wait to see it develop more.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

{🎟 AD – PR invite – Tickets were gifted in exchange for an honest review}

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