Alfie Ordinary is the son of a drag king, which (as he explains during the opening of this fantastic, glitter-filled show) makes him a drag prince.
“Fun, funny, inspiring and relevant performance”
Head to toe in sequins, dicky bow included, Alfie lets us in on what life is like at ‘Madame LeCoq’s Prep School for Fabulous Boys’, where each day’s assembly begins with a group rendition of ‘I am what I am’ and students are encouraged to be their fabulous selves, rebuffing a world where the constraints of gender, heteronormativity and masculinity rule.
He helps his classmate John who, being ‘muggle born’, must rid himself of the sequinned uniform every day when he leaves the school and heads home. By supporting John to be proud of who he is, we gradually see him embracing his true self and becoming more confident and fabulous as the show goes on.
Hilarious moments emerge throughout our hour with Alfie, the stand out ones being the introduction of Whitney Houston and, later, Bette Midler to the stage. Hand puppets appear from behind Alfie’s back and proceed to belt out ‘their’ huge hits, and the audience can’t help but get involved in ‘The Greatest Love of All’.
Another highlight is when Alfie ‘comes out’ as being a football fan and, while he disappears to change into another amazing outfit – a red sequinned football kit – we hear Siri explaining the off side rule via the analogy of being out shoe-shopping, a clever and funny interlude.
“This is a show full of poignant moments as well as very funny ones”
However, this is a show full of poignant moments as well as very funny ones – the musical numbers are all chosen for their lyrics which encourage love in all forms and embracing a lifestyle which makes you happy. I felt a lump in my throat during a couple of them. By advertising that the show is suitable for ages 6 and above, it’s designed not only to entertain adults, but also to serve as a fun and inspirational performance to those of a much younger age, letting them in on some important life lessons.
A voiceover towards to end informs us that Alife is not in fact real, but a figment of John’s imagination and I think by this point, the audience can agree that all of us could have done with a little Alfie Ordinary magic in our lives, many times.
This show has won awards previously, the International Touring Bursary meaning that Alfie has been able to take it all over the world, and I sincerely hope that the support keeps coming, so that he can reach even further. When he tells us how far he’s travelled with it, but that its always the best ‘coming home to Brighton’, it wasn’t just me feeling a bit emotional.
The final encore from Alfie and Whitney is a brilliant end to this fun, funny, inspiring and relevant performance.
Image: Greg Bailey