tue 16/07/2019

Drag SOS, Channel 4 review - absolutely fabulous | reviews, news & interviews

Drag SOS, Channel 4 review - absolutely fabulous

Drag SOS, Channel 4 review - absolutely fabulous

Being the best you can be with the Family Gorgeous

The Family Gorgeous, in search of the inner fabulous

According to the Manchester drag collective the Family Gorgeous, “drag should be for everyone.” And on the evidence of Drag SOS (Channel 4) , engagingly voice-overed by Hugh Bonneville, the British public is eager to embrace them in all their spangly, fantastical glory.

The Gorgeouses visit different towns looking for volunteers to get out of that closet and undergo a ravishing, 360-degree drag makeover. They started in Dover, where their candidates included Shaun, a 55-year-old supermarket supervisor who they pulled off a rain-soaked football pitch, to the amazement of his old boy-buddies. Then there was Nico, a 21-year-old art student who’d been driven to panic attacks and paranoia by the turmoil of student life in London, and finally Abby, a single mum and stay-at-home carer for her son and daughter who both suffer from emotional disorders.

The title sounds like mere reality-TV tawdriness, but the programme became steadily more penetrating and emotionally absorbing. The Family Gorgeous, it transpired, aren’t just slick drag professionals, but have remarkable gifts of empathy and perceptiveness. The sequence where Abby confessed her worst fear – “I don’t like me, so why should anybody else?” – was unbearably sad, but Cheddar Gorgeous (creating drag queen names is an art in itself) handled the moment with the deftness of a seasoned psychotherapist.

Black-clad Nico struck up an immediate rapport with self-styled “monochrome drag queen” Liquorice Black, and was steadily transformed into a sexier, more confident version of herself. As for Shaun, he’d been nominated for the show by his gay son Owen, and it gradually emerged that he’d been haunted for decades by the insensitivity he’d shown when Owen first came out. As Shaun enthusiastically transformed himself into “Poppy Love”– you had to wonder what his wife was thinking –  the process triggered an emotional reaction in the Georgeouses’ Anna Phylactic, who suffered flashbacks to the confrontational scenes with his own parents when he was outed.

It all built towards the climactic scene where the remade trio performed their own drag act while lip-syncing to Heather Small’s self-empowerment stomper “Proud”. For that night at least, they were transformed – “the real Abby’s been hiding for 15 years,” said her newly-created persona Bella di Ball. As Cheddar Gorgeous put it, “there’s a little bit of fabulous in all of us.”

Cheddar Gorgeous handled the moment with the deftness of a seasoned psychotherapist

rating

Editor Rating: 
4
Average: 4 (1 vote)

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