Trinity and Jan performing Telephone at the Clapham Grand

Klub Kids: The Drag Ball Review

As a long-time fan of Drag Race I’m slightly embarrassed to admit that I’ve never been to a live drag performance.

Thankfully that changed last night when I arrived at the Clapham Grand for what was originally Klub Kids London Presents: Anetra but became Klub Kids: The Drag Ball after Anetra had to pull out because of illness.

Despite the initial disappointment I think a lot of fans in the audience were feeling, the updated cast more than made up for it in an evening filled with death drops, sequins, and Kylie Minogue’s Padam Padam – a song my housemate is convinced is going to be the song of the summer and which was played twice throughout the show.

Tasked with hyping up the crowd was DJ Andyrew, the creator of Klub Kids. He played the perfect mixture of classics, new hits (again, I can’t seem to escape Kylie Minogue’s Padam Padam), and drag race classics.

Getting the audience involved with singing verses from UK Hun and Break Up (Bye Bye) meant that we were all sufficiently hyped up by the time the show started.

Hosting the show was Michael Marouli, a drag queen I wasn’t familiar with but whose stage presence kept the audience engaged throughout, from her dramatic lip syncs to the dark comedy, to calling out audience members as ‘filth’ or ‘council scum’.

It was the epitome of everything I had come to love about drag over the years: a sense of humour that seems entirely unique to the drag scene as it toes the line between mockery and self-deprecation.

Continuing to highlight the insanely-talented world of British drag was Tomara Thomas, whose sequinned bodysuit and performance of Madonna’s Vogue won the audience over and set the stage for a night of exceptional drag performances.

Trinity K. Bonet at the Clapham Grand

In a performance set to rival Beyonce’s Renaissance tour, Trinity K. Bonet arrived on stage in a dramatic tasseled red gown and corset which she took off to reveal a red studded catsuit.

Performing a few songs from Beyonce’s discography, she showed her versatility and dancing skills although occasionally seemed to struggle with the stunning wig she was wearing, as it wrestled with the wind machines at the front of the stage.

Jasmine Kennedie at the Clapham Grand

Next up was Jasmine Kennedie, a season 14 queen, who was even more beautiful in person than on screen. Wearing a hot pink lingerie-type set with bedazzled gloves and a pastel pink feather boa, she was one of the stand-out dancers of the night.

Jan at the Clapham Grand

However, the queen I was most excited for was Jan, who arrived in an over-sized cape to the tune of Lady Gaga’s Judas.

Avid fans of drag will know that an oversized coat can only mean one thing: a second outfit reveal, which for Jan was a metallic gold two piece as she began a performance centred on Lady Gaga’s discography.

This was to set the stage for a final lip sync battle which closed out the night between Trinity and Jan as they sang Telephone in the style of their respective artists.

Ra'Jah O'Hara in an orange frilled catsuit at the Clapham Grand

Stepping in for Anetra was reigning queen Ra’jah O Hara, who recently won Canada vs the World.

Despite not being particularly memorable for me in season 11, she grew on me during All Stars 6 and was a stand-out from last night’s show.

Styling herself in her classic purple and orange tones throughout the show, she brought an insane amount of energy to the show, even when she closed her second performance with a montage of power ballads including Whitney Houston’s I Will Always Love You.

Despite some technical issues (broken screens, patchy lighting at times, a musical hiccup), the show maintained its energy largely due to the exceptional talent of the performers.

While I felt that it lost some momentum during an audience lip sync which involved a Lady Gaga fan and Beyonce fan in a rapid show down, it was the most fun I’ve had on a night out at a live performance in a long time and I can’t wait to go to my next drag show.

Even if you aren’t a huge fan of Drag Race, Klub Kids: The Drag Ball is such a fun way to celebrate talented artists and in the words of Ra’jah: “We are all that we have”.

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