Theatre: The Life and Times of Miss P

It’s a cabaret, it’s a one woman show, and it’s gonna make you feel a whole lot of fancy free fun! Colin McLean is Polly Filla and between the two of them, they put on one hell of a show.

Drag as an art form is usually dripping with sarcasm, innuendo and facetiousness. Skirting around tragedy, blinkered from reality, it soldiers on – often embodying the modern court jester. While it might tackle hard hitting issues it blows them up to such a huge scale that they become absurd. Polly Filla takes off the filter to deliver raw, real emotion without missing out on the frivolity.

From beginnings in New Zealand the story of Colin and Polly is interwoven through video, song, drag and cabaret to become a multifaceted extravaganza of life. The videos follow an interview style, interspersed with drag acts.Whether you’re hearing about being slapped by a celebrity, or viewing the home of Miss P – the show is filled with life and variety. Side note – oh my god there are so many damn clothes there. Her whole house looks like a scene from MTV Cribs – except when you realise the space isn’t just one huge wardrobe but there is a kitchen sink and a bed in there!

So amongst all the brilliance and dazzle of this vignette, a beating heart pulses at the core of this show. Polly takes great care to tell some important stories that are usually pushed aside for fear that drag audiences will balk at the prospect of feeling something too real. Colin talks about his late mother, the struggle he went through saying good bye, and the quest for closure. Getting to see behind the wig, heel and lashes was stunning. The bravery it takes to earnestly discuss such a matter is monstrous, and Polly performed a moving tribute her mother would have surely been proud of.

Moving away from the more poignant part of the show there was discussion about gay culture and how dating a drag queen can be seen as a huge turn off. In a gay world plagued by masc4masc and no fems, where does a girl go to get her rocks off? Or for that matter to be loved? Not only that, but while coming out is easier than it has ever been the drag venues and gay bars disappear. With gays no longer limited to be only able to pick up in clubs –  and bars becoming less about meeting new people, the amount of stages for drag queens dwindles. Furthermore with RuPauls Drag Race (arguably the most visible expression of drag in popular culture) going mainstream, you would expect more demands for queens in clubs! Polly goes into these matters with wit and determination. Not shy to plead a case for herself, she eloquently speaks her mind with no apologies.

Within all of this was the fun and wonder you want from a drag queen. There is lip syncing to die for, outfits that are out of this world, and a plethora of gay anthems.

The Life and Times of the Divine Miss P is a testament to the profound flexibility and wonder of drag and those who take it to the stage.

5/5 Yasss Queen’s


Polly Filla has wrapped her performances at The Melbourne Fringe Festival. For more information about Polly and upcoming performances check out her Facebook page.

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