After taking audience’s hearts and minds by storm at Fringe theatre festivals across Canada and the world, God is a Scottish Drag Queen (previously seen at Edmonton Fringe 2013) is re-appearing in Edmonton for a brief three-day run (until March 15) at the Westbury Theatre.
Both the show God is a Scottish Drag Queen and the writer/performer Mike Delamont walk the line between theatre and stand up comedy incredibly well. The show feels too spontaneous to be theatre, and too purposeful to be stand up. However, it all worked together seamlessly – I enjoyed falling into the illusion of hearing God speak and then being thrown out of that world by an offhanded comment about Edmonton hipsters. With its strange mixture of theatre and stand up, God is a Scottish Drag Queen is a commentary not only on the list of things that God comes prepared to talk to us about – ranging from how the pope is chosen to spanx – but also on the form of stand up comedy. After seeing God is a Scottish Drag Queen I reflected that stand up comedy, with a sole person on stage spouting opinions and judgement on everything and everyone under the sun, does seem awfully preach-y when it comes down to it. By blending theatre and stand up, God is a Scottish Drag Queen acknowledges the pretentiousness of stand up comedy and that allows some gems of wisdom to shine through the snort-inducing laughs liberally sprinkled throughout the show.
I must admit, I don’t know what having God appear in drag with a Scottish accent really added to the show, other than giving the impression of sounding scandalous. For a show that’s spent most of its life in fringe theatre festivals where attracting audiences based on the show’s name alone is key, I suppose that’s reason enough. While I don’t think the show makes any statements that are truly scandalous, it does poke fun at any number of associations – Catholic, Irish, hipster, the Oilers… you name it. For a first-time viewer like myself, God is a Scottish Drag Queen was absolutely hilarious – certainly the funniest show I’ve seen so far this year. If you did catch it during Edmonton Fringe 2013, I overheard from one audience member that the jokes were largely the same, but they were still as funny as the first time she saw it.
God is a Scottish Drag Queen runs March 14 and 15 at 8:00 in the Westbury Theatre in the ATB Arts Barns. Tickets are $20 from the Fringe box office. And if you want even more God is a Scottish Drag Queen, it looks like a sequel to the show will be part of Fringe 2014.