Ivy Bar & Cabaret, 63 Cuba Street, Te Aro, Wellington

07/03/2023 - 11/03/2023

NZ Fringe Festival 2023

Production Details

Written and performed by Dean Misdale

Proud Entertainment Group

Winner of Best Cabaret & Variety Show at Fringe World 2022 Life’s A Drag takes you on a reality shaking rollercoaster ride of what it really takes to be a QUEEN!

Vocal Powerhouse Dean Misdale recounts side-splitting real-life encounters whilst giving you a behind the scenes look into the world of Drag. Doing what you got to do to survive the pandemic, dating horror stories and somehow managing to come out on top, Life’s A Drag rolls all your favourite diva moments into one show stopping cabaret.

“A must watch show” ★★★★★ Student Newspaper Edinburgh, 2022
“Unflinchingly honest, perfectly heartwarming, and hilarious” ★★★★★ Broadway World, 2022
“Refreshingly heartfelt” ★★★★ Ed Fringe Review, 2022
Content forecast: 18+, Medium Coarse Language’s-a-drag

Dean Misdale

Cabaret , Theatre ,

60 mins

A campy and cosy intimate cabaret show with a whip-smart queen

Review by Hayley Webster 09th Mar 2023

At a point in time where almost everyone and their mums have been exposed to the world of drag due to the popularity of mainstream drag competitions on television, most people seem to think they have an idea of what ‘good’ drag is.

Attending Dean Misdale’s show, Life’s a Drag, is a reminder of how removed from reality the popular media conception is in comparison to watching live drag.

Working with an audience who have come to a drag show at 6:00pm on a weeknight is not an easy task. Drag is definitely an artform that is easier when you can feed off the audience’s energy, and while there are smatterings of whoops and hollers thrown in by a slightly subdued and polite audience on this occasion, Misdale effortlessly manages to work with it and keeps us engaged and enjoying the show.

Starting off with a classic number and having the audience joining in on a sing along (half of us without even realizing we were doing it), Misdale quips “Bet you weren’t expecting this to be karaoke night!” While we spend the show singing along, there isn’t much crowd work – however when there is, it hits every time.

Misdale has the show’s structure balanced well – a cabaret-style format with insights and stories from his experiences over the last few years, with songs peppered through. The stories are heartfelt and honest with punchlines that land well, and the audience can both laugh and empathise with the tales painted in front of us. The flow throughout the show is coherent, and the mixture of well-known musical numbers means everyone recognises something they can sing along to.

I instantly get excited when Misdale mentions a love of writing parody songs, and I am delighted by the quick-witted insights in each of the parodies we are treated to. I would have loved to hear more of these, however having a few of these gems with hits that everyone knows and can sing along to keeps the audience on board.

What makes this show good drag is that it’s not just a two-dimensional cookie-cutter drag performance we’ve got used to seeing on screens. While Misdale certainly brings the campy elements we all love, we get more than just a flashy costume and a beautiful face. They also bringing layers of the person behind the queen, wowing us with vocal talents and bringing smart, self-deprecating comedy onto the stage. The result is a campy and cosy intimate cabaret show with a whip-smart queen who shows us the truth of the person behind the drag, with an honesty that leaves me rather smitten. Heck – it’s something I’d even bring my Mum to.


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