Drag Me Out by Georgie Bailey
Hen & Chickens Theatre (short walk from Highbury and Islington station) ended December 1st
Review Info: Veronica Stein, 3rd December, 2018.
Life’s a Drag
Xan has been spending an awful lot of time on his couch recently. Despite the revolving door of friends and family who try to get him up and about he appears to be stuck, like the cat trapped outside his window. The only thing that seems to coax him into talking about his circumstances is escaping himself altogether through donning drag. Perhaps taking it all off is the only way to escape once and for all.
Budding Rose Productions has ambitiously pledged to produce new, challenging, writing, and Georgie Bailey’s Drag Me Out is no exception. It’s a hard-hitting piece that examines identity in compelling (but often confusing) ways, brought to life by its strong and skilled ensemble. Dylan McCormack’s Moe moves from playfulness to ferocity with ease, and Alice Ivor is authentic as Xan’s overworked and unamused sister. Chantelle Grace provides comic relief and pure warmth as Xan’s hopeful confidant. Jack Sunderland’s Xan and Xannie (his drag persona) are truly remarkable; his trauma and self-induced isolation are gripping, and his moments of levity never seem out of place. As a constant in the laying space, he carries the play with aplomb and sensitivity.
Drag Me Out is not without issues, however, for the playwright is sometimes inconsistent with misplaced effort. The themes explored are worthy of his focus, certainly, however the delivery through the dialogue gives real issues an unrealistic quality. Xannie’s monologues are brilliantly characterised, imbued with idiosyncrasies, but when the other dialogue becomes equally stylised the overall effect becomes muddled.
Altogether, Drag me Out’s inaugural production is a unique, affecting piece that has been thoughtfully directed by Rosie Snell. Through effective performances all around, the potential of the company and Bailey’s career have been brought to the fore.
Xan: Jack Sunderland
Val: Alice Ivor
Cas: Chantelle Grace
Moe: Dylan McCormack
Director: Rosie Snell
Set Designer: Greg Spong
Sound Designer: Benjamin T Jackson