Review: BenDeLaCreme

BenDeLaCreme_Cosmos

Talk about the evolution of drag! BenDeLaCreme may start off with goofy song parodies and wisecracking comedy like other drag queens, but that’s just to soften your senses for something far more sophisticated – her seductive strangeness creeps up on you, and gives you a lot more to chew on than your typical drag cabaret.

Her latest show, Cosmos, plays on both senses of the title: “the universe as a whole” and “an abbreviation for two or more Cosmopolitan cocktails”. It’s a boozy, pun-packed trek through the stars that aims to answer questions like “Why Planets?” and “How Does Science?”

It’s typical of the queen otherwise known as Ben Putnam that these intentionally silly starting points end up taking us to places more profound than the most chin-strokingly serious straight play, without ever being less than belly-laugh hilarious. I’ve gotten very frustrated recently with some of my colleagues in the theatre who look down on the arts of clowning, drag, circus and burlesque as being somehow less, somehow stupid. This is the show they need to see: Putnam takes the best of all those forms and whips them into something new, fascinating and intensely intelligent.

Not only that, BenDeLa uses these popular forms to probe the very biggest questions, switching from deep existential angst to spiritual lightness in the space of a minute – in between double entendres about sex and booze.

BenDeLaCreme is all about fantastic and ridiculous artifice, but also ultimately really about what that artifice can communicate and express about deeper things, like science and our place in the universe. She delivers a show that’s equal parts cheeky fun and insightful art, no small feat. Highly recommended.

For tickets, click here.

To learn about Jonathan Warman’s directing work, see jonathanwarman.com.

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