Alyssa, Memoirs of a Queen! at Vaudeville Theatre
Of the 179 queens who have sashayed their way across the 13 seasons of runaway hit Ru Paul’s Drag Race, the inimitable, tongue-popping Alyssa Edwards is one of the most matchless and memorable. The fan favourite on season five (as well as the second series of All Stars) might not have claimed the crown, but she has been deemed drag royalty, nonetheless. With her direct approach, quirky catchphrases, hilarious facial expressions, striking dance moves and sometimes self-effacing vulnerability, Edwards’s multifaceted demeanour never ceases to entertain and enthral. The Texan star is of the most successful queens to come out of the series, and has carved out an impressive career that has taken her across the globe and most recently onto the small screen with the Netflix docu-drama Dancing Queen. For one week only, she graces London’s West End with the world premiere of her autobiographical Alyssa, Memoirs of a Queen!
Entering in the style of Blanche DuBois, a tongue pop sends the audience wild and it’s clear the house is brimming with Drag Race fans. Edwards expresses her delight at the upbeat response and appears even more energised than usual by the evident love and support. She is effortless with the crowd, encouraging participation and initiating humorous chat littered with her trademark quick-witted responses. This enables the audience to become absorbed in her and the world she inhabits, quickly forgetting that they are in a relatively large West End venue.
“I’m snatched, waxed and fully vaxed,” proclaims the queen, who looks as stunning as one would expect. Changing into multiple outfits, a remarkably talented quartet of dancers ensure there is always something to sustain attention, with each injecting additional energy into an already exuberant production.
Act one provides well-told yarns surrounding Edwards’ childhood, and it’s endearing that she ventures off on multiple tangents before reeling herself back in. Magnetic and alluring, Edwards knows how to recount a story and has the auditorium captivated throughout.
In the second act fans learn more about the phenomenon that put Edwards on the map. Those up to date on their Drag Race “herstory” will enjoy the tea Edwards spills about her time on the show, but even if audiences are not familiar there is still a great deal to be relished. With lip-syncing, dancing, heartfelt and humorous anecdotes and a super-size serving of fun, the drag idol brings a touch of Vegas to the West End. It’s not hard to see why she has become one of the most famous and adored queens of her time. The stage is her home and it’s a joy to be welcomed into it.
Photos: Pamela Raith
Alyssa, Memoirs of a Queen! is at Vaudeville Theatre from 7th June until 13th June 2021. For further information or to book visit the theatre’s website here.
Watch a trailer for the show here: