Gate69 NON-Specific

NON-Specific review. At Gate69. Until 28 September 2019


Last night I was invited to join friends at the glam and totes over the top Gate69 for one of the last chances to see their own in-house, Trolley Dolly threesome show NON-Specific.

Now the last (and first) time I was at the gorgeous Gate69 was for a horrible, sexist, uncomfortable, badly put together international drag act and I was disappointed and confused. I loved the venue, the food, the completely amazing service, the presence of the hosts in full drag, to be on hand, and foot and mouth, to serve us. But I hated the show.

NON-Specific is deliciously amazing

Last night on the other hand, and foot and mouth, was completely, totally, deliciously amazing, so even though there are about a week’s shows left, and Weekend Special has already reviewed NON-Specific, I thought I would give a gentle shove up the stairs to whoever is in Cape Town and hasn’t seen it yet, to get their bum cheek off their seats.

Don’t miss this best ever behind the scenes, poignant and hilarious drag show.

The show starts at the end. The Trolley Dolly trio, in full costume (and massive headpieces – I love those spongy, swelling, sea creature headpieces) perform their curtain call. Then the stage is revealed, and it is backstage, with dressing tables and squares of make-up lights, and costume rails and wigs on polystyrene heads. It is here that the ‘real’ people behind their glamourous, fabulous drag personas are revealed, with all their aches and pains, loves and longings, bitchy dry teasing, and totally genuine feeling. (Oh and the funniest, best ever corpsing.)

I laughed a lot. Bette Middler’s From a Distance has a word make-over that had me in stitches, but it was the 80’s mad medley that got me weeping with laughter and I couldn’t stop. When the lace curtain arm wave pieces were brought out to do Total Eclipse of the Heart, I thought I was going to pass out. I laughed at the ridiculous choreography, the turn of phrase, the dead pan glance, the huff and puff.

I was moved; once or twice to actual tears. The backstories and portraits of these usually glamourous, untouchable characters were touching and personal.

I was transported. Truthfully, I am a jaded theatre maker and theatre watcher, and very little has thrilled me in the last while, but here, real theatrical magic is made, to be shared with the audience. Firstly, there is talent and skill.

These ladies are pitch and pose perfect. Every detail is considered and decided on. A tiny stage is used to its capacity, and the script is intelligent. But it is more than that. It is heart and soul. It is teamwork and discipline. It is fun and devotion. It is a scrap of fabric becoming fairy wings. It is the call of and to the theatre gods to see, witness feel and change. And I was taken up by it.

What: NON-Specific Gate69
Where: Gate69, cnr Hout and Breet Street, Cape Town
When: Until 28 September, 2019, Wednesday – Saturday
Book: 021 035 1627,