Raziel Reid flanked by Peach Cobblah and Isolde N. Barron at The Cultch, Vancouver. Photo by Jon Haywood.
If they’d taught the glamour of Vancouver’s drag herstory at my school I might’ve used my text book for more than doing lines off of. Oh, sixth grade . . .
Zee Zee Theatre’s Tucked & Plucked at The Cultch is school werk! Forget pencils and paper. What kids of today really need is vodka-spiked tea and boas. Miss Carlotta Gurl is the gym teacher, since that fit bitch can do cartwheels in stilettos (and I’m sure she has a dyke-ish wig somewhere), Miss Isolde N Barron is the herstory teacher, with Miss Peach Cobblah as her insubordinate aid.
The show is a jam-packed (and I’m not just talking about Peach’s tuck), hour-long education on how drag has shaped Vancouver since the '60s, when being gay and crossdressing were illegal. At the time, bars didn’t have liquor licences, so the original queens of the underground would bring their own bottles while laying the foundation, with sequins, jizz and fake lashes (is anything sturdier?) of queer culture and nightlife — which went hand in hand. We are creatures of the night. There was a time when we could emerge only after dark, in secrecy, at risk of our own safety because police were raiding bars and persecuting anyone revolutionary enough to be different.
When Isolde went over the timeline of drag’s herstory, she highlighted some of the icons who have defined the craft, from Jesus Christ (“girl walked around with an eternal spotlight over his head”), to RuPaul, who, through reality TV, has made the once clandestine art form mainstream. There were some pivotal moments along the way, like Shakespeare coining the term “drag” as an abbreviation for “dressed as girl,” when male actors would play female roles in his plays.
Tucked & Plucked will get you buzzing. If not from alcohol — hold on to your glasses during Isolde’s numbers, mama gets thirsty — then definitely from laughter. There was a pregnant woman a week overdue in the audience, and I swear she laughed so hard her water broke. Or was that just one of Isolde’s queefs?
For my full review of the show, check out Blitz & Shitz in the next issue of Xtra, in stands May 22.
Tucked & Plucked runs at The Cultch until May 26.