The Scruffy Bunny Improv Theatre, 100 Courtenay Place, Wellington

26/06/2018 - 30/06/2018

Production Details

Reacting to the #metoo movement, the Weinstein scandal and their feelings about power and gender, sixteen talented members of the Long Cloud Youth Theatre ensemble get their drag on to present an evening of gender bending fun and fierceness that will have you laughing, thinking and dancing in the aisles.

Drag as an art form has always been as political as it has been entertaining. Drag Queens were at the front line of the Stonewall riots in New York in 1969, often cited as one of the pivotal events that lead to the birth of the gay rights movement.

Long Cloud members use their drag personae to explore the social construction of gender and identity politics as well as their own personal responses to contemporary events such as the #metoo movement and the Weinstein scandal.

Join Don D’Macho, Sharonda, Eugene, Alygnya Chakras and all the other kings and queens for a riotous night of TRASH!GLAM!GRAG!SLAM!  

Scruffy Bunny Improv Theatre Wellington (Off Reading Mall Food Court)
26th-30th June 2018
Tuesday 26th-29th, 8pm-9pm
Saturday 30th, 7pm-8pm
Tickets: waged: $20 | unwaged: $10
Special $5 tix for queens and kings in full drag 

Long Cloud Youth Theatre is a performance ensemble for 15-25 year olds. Our aims are to:

  • provide education via a training performance ensemble for young people from the Wellington region;
  • benefit the community by producing performance work, both scripted and unscripted, that is innovative, relevant and accessible, for the wider theatre going community;
  • provide education to young people in the relevant theatrical areas during each production (including acting, script analysis, unscripted analysis, voice, movement and similar skills), as well as teaching leadership, group dynamics, confidence building, creative problem solving, resource management and similar attributes.

During every production each person, as well as performing, is encouraged to be responsible for other elements of running the production such as publicity, marketing, sponsorship and social media.

For more information please contact us at

Director – Brett Adam
Assistant Director – Keegan Bragg
Costume Mistress – Jessie Weber-Sparrow

Thomas Robinson
Zora Patrick
Sol Maxwell
Abi O'Regan
Brit O'Rourke
Lily Maria
Jack Arbuckle
Sean Millward
GypsyMae Harihona
Mark Whittet
East Abernathy
Tyler Clarke
Katherine Dewar
Nick Rowell
Ethan Morse
Jack Carroll 

Theatre , Cabaret ,

Doubtless a valuable acting experience

Review by John Smythe 27th Jun 2018

Male-to-female ‘drag’ has been around since women were banned from public performance. It had a special role to play in wartime entertainment troupes. And the ‘drag queen’ phenomenon has long-since been counter-pointed by the ‘drag king’ – which arguably has its origins in 1930s European cabaret.

In the antipodes the 1960s-70s Les Girls-style cabaret shows attracted a wide range of clientele from curious tourists to members of the LGBTQ+ community (not that it was called that then) seeking out their ‘tribe’, back when being a practising male gay was illegal.

As the media release for TRASH!GLAM!DRAG!SLAM! notes, “Drag as an art form has always been as political as it has been entertaining. Drag Queens were at the front line of the Stonewall riots in New York in 1969, often cited as one of the pivotal events that lead to the birth of the gay rights movement.”

The transvestite from Transylvania hit the stage in The Rocky Horror Show in the early 1970s quickly followed by The Rocky Horror Picture Show and two decades later Priscilla, Queen of the Desert reinvigorated the Drag phenomenon to widespread popular acclaim. Both can be said to have had political motives: to break through moral and sexual repression; to engender tolerance; to celebrate diversity; to luxuriate in being unapologetically sexy.

The avowed purpose of TRASH!GLAM!DRAG!SLAM! is to react to “to the #metoo movement, the Weinstein scandal and their feelings about power and gender”. So I approach the show with high expectations of biting satire.

The cast is mixing and mingling as we arrive and find our seats at the very modestly appointed Scruffy Bunny (mostly used for improv shows) so the first bit of fun is to observe and admire the Queens’ and Kings’ drag. Some of the Queens are very convincing as hyper-female. The Kings are more obviously ‘fake’ with painted on facial and body hair but their body postures and movements are spot on. Only one woman has not cross-dressed; she is a kewpie doll.

As a venue the Scruffy Bunny and its technology are not conducive to a glam drag show: no flash lighting effects, not even a mirror ball, and a very basic sound system that does not envelop the space and works against convincing lip-syncing. There is only one hand-held mic that is used for introductions, spread over the evening in three job lots, and that is the only time live voices are used.

Otherwise the whole show is lip-synced songs on the basic main stage alternating with lip-synced conversations on a side-rostrum with very bad sight-lines for anyone on the other side of the auditorium.  

Content-wise I find it hard to feel much political impact at all, let alone searing satire. The conversations seem to have been recorded as part of the research and development in the devising process. They are lip-synced to because the Queens are mouthing the conversations actual women had and vice versa.

One or two humorous gems emerge from such provocations as, “What do you define casual sexism as?”, “When do you feel sexy?”, “Have you ever found yourself being sexist?”, “Have you ever been called out for being sexist?” But noting hits a nerve and mostly I find myself preoccupied with the varying quality of the lip-syncing – which once or twice is very good indeed.

Given the feminine clichés inherent in most of the Queens’ adornments, the chats about feminism tend to sit quite oddly in those mouths, with the satirical potential of that contradiction remaining unexplored. The way we observe and judge the male talk, however, is somehow enhanced by its being delivered by Kings.

Some attempt is made to counterpoint the lyrics of some of the ten pop songs with actions that interpret them more critically, encouraging us to think twice about them, but there needs to be more dynamic focus in the choreography (uncredited) to make the points hit home.

Partly I feel the show is constrained by an egalitarian devising process that, while allowing everyone their moment in the proverbial spotlight (if only there was an actual one), mitigates against anyone reaching the heights of ‘star’ or ‘diva’. 

There is no character development or narrative arc to give the 70-odd minute show dramatic structure. And overall the relationships sketched in, here and there, are hetero-normative. Only once, on being asked if he’s be offended if someone called him gay, does a King say he doesn’t yet know who he is and quietly muse on the possibility he might be a girl. It’s hardly a cutting-edge insight into the prevailing questions of gender-identity.

Need I say that had a playwright’s consciousness been brought to the research, investigation, and crafting of the raw material a powerful piece might have m=emerged. But I guess that’s not the purpose of mounting this show, despite the promise inherent in the publicity.

As it stands, despite falling short of what its name anticipates, TRASH!GLAM!DRAG!SLAM! is doubtless a valuable acting experience for the Long Cloud Youth Theatre participants. Many of their friends in the audience are effusive in their enjoyment of it and a healthy percentage leap up at the end to dance along with the cast. 


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