The Jinkx and DeLa Holiday Special at Soho Theatre online
In addition to being a time for family, food, and festive fun, Christmas has always been a moment to embrace our inner camp. With pantomimes, cabaret and glitter-filled parties off the cards this year, those who don’t mind a bit of risqué humour can get their fix of winter cheer with The Jinkx and DeLa Holiday Special.
The 60-minute performance is available via the Soho Theatre’s On Demand service in lieu of their usual Christmas tours. The play – featuring world-renowned drag artists (and RuPaul’s Drag Race alumni) BenDeLaCreme and Jinkx Monsoon – is a twisted yuletide parable staged like a TV holiday variety show that doesn’t spare its audiences any blushes.
Musical numbers joking about everything from sex to the nativity story (via a parody of Baby It’s Cold Outside) are woven into a narrative that pitches DeLa’s love of Christmas tradition against Jinkx’s misanthropic, hedonistic view of the season. Egged on by, well, haunted eggnog, the former attempts to force her pal into creating a traditional festive vaudeville show against her will. The result is a conflict that playfully lays waste to many conventional symbols of Christmas.
Obviously, thanks to its constant bawdiness and determination to leave no blasphemous boundary uncrossed, this is one holiday special that won’t be to all tastes. However, there’s a slickness to BenDeLaCreme’s direction and the duo’s chemistry that carries off even the most indiscreet quips. It’s difficult not to laugh at Jinkx sneaking off for a romp with a character dubbed “a naked guy” in the middle of an expertly staged tapdance number. Nor is it easy to hold in chuckles at a stable scene that features a giant, bearded baby Jesus dancing the twist.
The skilful writing, staging and filming, which took place in Seattle with Covid-19 safety measures imposed, agilely deliver the special’s serious undertone. The important messages of acceptance and the need to create new traditions in line with who you are hit home in its closing numbers.
Ultimately, the pair’s combination of outrageous humour, unrelenting camp and theatrical skills perhaps doesn’t work quite as well in a streaming special as it would live with the reactions and roars of an audience. Yet, both are talented enough writers and performers to provide a festive treat for fans who won’t be able to camp it up at live shows this Christmas.
The Jinkx and DeLa Holiday Special is at Soho Theatre online from 11th December until 31st December 2020. For further information or to book visit the theatre’s website here.