Review: ESDR Presents Sharon Needles and Willam

By james higgins, Monday Jul 10, 2017

With its biggest outing yet, Eat Sleep Drag Repeat (ESDR) nailed a major hit for the Pride weekend.

Since 2015, ESDR has brought us a bevy of drag queens, but with 800 tickets sold and a new venue at SWX, ESDR demonstrated the massive appeal they’ve built.

Securing Sharon Needles and Willam during Pride season was a huge scoop – aside from Bianca and Alaska, there are few that could shift tickets so fast. That is, unless our actual Queen worked up a novelty and some merch.

Willam has always been that girl you wished you were at school. She’s horrible and she knows it.

Willam says “Uck Foff”

Willam zipped around on a hoverboard performing Uck Foff, but it was when she leaned down and spoke to the crowd that we were reminded why she has always been the dark icon of the show.

The ultimate dead pan queen, she’s dark, she’s caustic, and she just doesn’t care if you laugh or not. There’s nothing more subversive than a comedian who doesn’t want your approval. “You’re an asshole. I don’t need two”.

She also did something with a douche full of lager and her unspeakables. I’m assuming it works like a honey-trap for bears. A beer trap for bears?

Sharon and Willam’s chemistry shone through on stage

Sharon was mesmerising as she emerged from a coffin and performed Call Me on the Ouija Board. But Sharon’s most memorable moments came when she ad-libbed. Trump, the importance of punk, Jimmy Saville – Sharon continues shows how important RuPaul’s Drag Race has been in launching different styles of drag into the mainstream.

Sharon sings from her latest album, Taxidermy

Sharon wrapped up her section by saying: “Why do I do drag? Because, why wouldn’t I want to dress as a woman. They’re the strongest things on our planet”. She thanked the girls that stuck by us at school and the gay women that have formed the bedrock of the LGBT+ community. It made me fall in love with Needles all over again.

While the headliners delivered, the supporting acts were true treasures of the show.

First up, John Smith. John won Man Up 2015, a leading drag king competition.

The besuited John entered the stage like maladjusted masculinity embodied. A dead ringer for that one man in everyone’s office: that guy who has his own semi-skimmed in the work fridge; the guy who talks about girls that don’t exist; the guy that uses Old Spice.

Now, I made a point of not watching any of the supporting acts beforehand on YouTube, as I wanted to see the shows with a fresh mind. But I was hesitant, was John going to show us a self-assessment tax return?

But then, a slowed down version of Madonna’s What It Feels like for a Girl played. If you’ve never heard the song, it begins with Madonna saying:

“Girls can wear jeans,
And cut their hair short,
Wear shirts and boots,
‘Cause it’s OK to be a boy,
But for a boy to look like a girl is degrading,
‘Cause you think that being a girl is degrading,
But secretly you’d love to know what it’s like”.

John removed his jacket, shirt and tie, and began shaving his chest. It was a good point.

The next supporting act was Kalypso Bang, who performed as alter ego Disgrace Jones. A sculpted vision of bodily perfection, Kalypso captured the audience in seconds. The energy, the stand-off-ish-ness, the playful nature – the legend of Grace was not short-changed in this Jonesian-inspired drag.

Kalypso Bang living up to her name

An amazing smashing spectacle of poise, muscle, fire, fans, and heels. Sparks flew as she punctuated every line with a few spins of her metal grinder. Or swallowed some fire.

Georgie Bee, winner of Miss Sink The Pink 2016 was the last supporting act to perform. Decked up like the Queen of Hearts and trapped inside a dressing table, Georgie gave us a lip sync of Cher’s Woman’s World.

Her table rose up and then dropped away to reveal nothing more than a G string, stilts, and a lot of nerve.

Georgie performs as a trapped beauty

With Alfie Ordinary at the helm, a frequent host of ESDR, the show was well-paced and engaging. What’s more; Tinky Winky finally had gay icon status thrust upon him in a beautifully mincing tribute.

Finally, a special mention to Mr Anonymous-and-Bearded who stole the show. The mini-quick steps to Britney were inspired and the Valentina joke was faster than anyone in the room. Congrats.

Next to visit Bristol will be Alaska as she performs Poundcake, live at Thekla.

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