If you’ve ever wondered what it might be like if Nosferatu covered a Queen song in the basement of a gay bar, high kicks and all, Georgia Tasda’s School of Magic is the show for you.
Georgia Tasda’s School of Magic, PBH’s Free Fringe @ CC Blooms * * * *
This rowdy, knockabout drag show combines macabre-glam style, a fantastical story, groan-worthy gags and scattershot references all delivered at a breakneck pace, with self-aware charm and a distinctly queer kick.
The plot, such as it is, revolves around Georgia – pale skin, milky eyes, glittery encrustations and Yorkshire tones – setting up her own comprehensive school for witchcraft to go up against the posh boarding school up the road.
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So begin the puns (“We’re not a grammar school. We’re a spelling school!”), which soon become as plentiful as the rat infestation that threatens to shut the place down.
There’s a steady stream of laughs and songs (some live, some lip-sync) as Georgia whizzes us through the register, a range of lessons and the machinations of trying to avert the closure of the school.
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There are sound effects and home-made props aplenty. I particularly enjoyed Evil Housekeeping, the witchy reader’s equivalent to Good Housekeeping – and lots of nods to the likes of RuPaul’s Drag Race, Game of Thrones and, of course, Harry Potter.
Georgia’s manner is witty and assured, happy to chuckle at her own shortcomings and not so much breaking the fourth wall as gesturing to its remains somewhere off in the distance.
There’s no shortage of scatological japes, including a highly distinctive animal supporting character, plus a very unusual sex scene brought to life in a very memorable way.
And, without giving away any spoilers, the story takes a couple of very queer twists that even offer a perverse kind of inspiration amid the magical fun.