Edinburgh Festival Fringe: It is rare, in a Fringe venue, for a show to get a standing ovation. But these ladies deserved every single bum that rose from every single seat.
Underbelly, Cowgate (Venue 61)
This is a fabulous show. OK, we are not Wembley (they might be slightly confused about their venue) but we have Wembley sized love for them.
Denim are a quintet of queens with voices as true as their wigs are fake. They are knowing, they are funny and they take songs you love and turn them into songs you love even more. Shirley Du Naughty (Hugh Wyld) does things to Old Fashioned Girl that would make Eartha Kitt spit, Aphrodite Greene nee Jones (Charles Parham) could be Ellen Greene’s long lost identical twin, the only discernible difference being Aphrodite’s fabulous bass register. Crystal Vaginova (Tom Rasmussen) is her own kind of fabulous. She has had what might be termed a ‘full’ life so when she lets rip on her version of I Was Here, she makes Beyonce sound like a mewling kitten. Elektra Cute (Guy Woolf) is my first full-on Marxist punk queen – yes, that is, as of now, a thing. TBH she seems slightly scary but if you are feeling hopeless, helpless and, well, anything from a bit meh to utterly devastated, listen to Elektra sing Rise Like a Phoenix and your soul will be healed. And then there is the leader of the pack, the queen of these beautiful bees, Glamrou La Denim (Amrou Al-Kadhi). Glamour pretty much has the Iraqi Muslim drag queen thing to herself (“too Iraqi to be gay, to gay to be Iraqi”, she shrugs) and comes to us in many spangles and a wig that is a huge fire hazard. As with Crystal and Elektra, there is heart and soul in her version of So Emotional.
These ladies are not just here for laughs, they are here to make a statement about identity and acceptance. And for laughs. And to celebrate the power of pop music. Yes, even Wrecking Ball. Their three-piece band is spot-on and once again, the Underbelly’s sound tech deserves a medal.
Until 27 August. Tomorrow 9pm.