The best of A MAD Drag Night 2020 live on YouTube
There is no doubt that Covid-19 has battered the arts over the course of just a few short months. With theatres shutting their doors, many self-employed artists are unable to qualify for furlough or financial aid. It is difficult not to fall through the cracks for those in their first job, or without the sufficient savings, or working jobs between gigs. But the show must go on, and now the annual A MAD Drag Night fundraiser for HIV and AIDS has reconfigured itself to support the Make a Difference Trust’s Emergency Assistance Fund, which is aiming to raise £50,000 to offer grants to as many performers, technicians, front of house staff, creatives, production staff, theatre administration and support staff as possible. These divine girls throw shade at coronavirus with a highlights show presented by drag queen Mary Mac.
While Zoom-based lockdown fundraisers from the likes of Parks and Recreation have failed to crack a smile by repeating old jokes, A MAD Drag Night uses its clip-show format to take a victory lap over the last five years of their good work, with some sharp coronavirus humour to lift our spirits. Faye Tozer, Sherrie Hewson, and a bare-bottomed John Barrowman are on hand to guide viewers through classic performances by some of London’s best drag queens, many of whom are on hand to reflect on the last five years of MAD Drag.
“Obviously it is very disappointing that we can’t put on our live show, which has really become a highlight on the West End Theatre calendar,” says A MAD Drag Night co-creator David O’Reilly. “We are putting together the next best thing. Our audience will be taken on a trip down memory lane, looking back at A MAD Drag Night‘s best bits from the last five years. It’ll take more than a world pandemic to stop our show!”
The live stream, which features cabaret parodies of Harry Potter (luckily, no reference to the book’s author), Death Becomes Her and Theresa May, is a swirl of cultural references that reminds viewers why A MAD Drag Night is such an important event. Unlike many of the other theatre live streams which have popped up in lockdown, which are professionally, if flatly, filmed, A MAD Drag Night is at pains to innovate. From the cast to the technical crew, every talking head highlights the centrality of community to their mission. For a community that continues to support each other through the HIV crisis, the coronavirus has shown the MAD Trust to be an invaluable source of help. And it’s a hell of a good time too.
Image: Mary Mac
A MAD Drag Night 2020 premiered on 26th July 2020 and is available to view online on MAD Drag’s YouTube channel. For further information visit A MAD Drag Night’s Twitter page here. To donate or apply for a grant visit the MAD Trust’s website here.