Iconic – A Brief History of Drag at the Underbelly Festival, Southbank, London.
Star rating: five stars ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
After a sell-out run at the St James Studio last year, Ian Stroughair’s Iconic – A Brief History of Drag returned for a one-night-only performance as part of the Underbelly Festival.
Stroughair has appeared in hit musicals such as Chicago, Cats, Fame and Rent (receiving critical acclaim for his portrayal of Angel).
However, Iconic – A Brief History of Drag is a showcase for Stroughair’s alter ego, Velma Celli, with the audience being sent on a passionate pilgrimage through the most iconic drag moments of film, stage and popular culture – and the sacred ‘Tranny Bible’ on hand to guide the way.
In addition to being vocally very impressive, blasting hit after hit from the stars who have carved and shaped our views on drag today (including David Bowie and RuPaul), Velma Celli also proves herself to be a gifted storyteller.
The show has a rare balance of light and shade, carefree and sentimental, funny and touching. It is wonderfully witty, outrageously funny and very well written.
If you’re not wandering the streets of Edinburgh for great Fringe this summer, London’s Underbelly Festival, year after year, proves itself to be a great alternative (at least when the British summertime plays fair).
Special guests on this occasion were West End leading lady Kerry Ellis and Jessie Wallace (best known for her role as Kat Slater in EastEnders),