Brighton Pride made its debut at the Brighton Fringe on Sunday night with a Gala Show at the Sabai Pavilion, home to the Ladyboys of Bangkok, featuring the legendary Ceri Dupree and introducing a certain star of the future Myra Dubois.
The evening was a triumph, the best night out I have had for quite some time. Host for the evening Lola Lasange was on top form and linked the show flawlessly together all evening Sound was first class and production values on the evening very, very impressive despite little set up time for the back stage crew after the previous Lady Boys Show had finished.
Pricilla Queen of the Desert Star, Wesley Sebastian, half of the drag act, Trashville Tennessee brought West End razzamatazz to the evening with his Liza with a Z, Minnelli set. Wesley was on the money singing and dancing his way through selections from Cabaret. The audience loved it!
The first half of the show was closed by relative newcomer to the Brighton cabaret scene, Myra Dubois who knocked the audience for six. Her appearances in Brighton have been limited to the Poison Ivy in St James Street. Her talent is deserving of a wider audiences and after this show I am sure local cabaret venues will be lining up to book her. I can best describe Myra as a cross between a raw young Lilly Savage and Tommy Cooper complete with an ability to get all her tricks wrong. However, her patter is spot on. Laugh and you will miss her next line. I laughed hard and long. Remember the name, you are going to hear much of Ms Dubois in the future.
Dolly Rocket brought her ample assets to the stage in the second half along with her fine sultry voice. She looked stunning and sounded great. Dolly was a perfect choice for this type of event and her rendition of Fever was seductively brilliant setting the scene perfectly for the star of the show Ceri Dupree.
Ceri needs no introduction to a gay audience in Brighton. We have been given the opportunity over the years to see Ceri grow into an artist of immense stature. He is in a league of his own among drag queens. The closest artist he reminds me of is the American gender illusionist, Jim Bailey. Like Bailey, Ceri becomes the roles he plays, looking and sounding like the characters he is playing.
On Sunday he treated us to Margaret Thatcher risen from the grave for the evening for Pride, it was edgy but brilliant; Shirley Bassey as always was spot on complete with those gyrating lips; Nana Mouskouri was brilliantly funny; Marlene Dietrich fabulously glamorous, Amy Whitehouse rough and ready; Edith Piaf quite simply brilliant. He finished the set with a majestic homage to Norma Desmond and Sunset Boulevard.
All Ceri’s costume changes took place behind a backlit screen which added to overall effect of the illusion and worked especially well in the Sabai Pavilion.
Ceri is unique talented, one of the few artists anywhere in the world who can perform live such a range of characters and bring an audience to its feet nightly. His art is a dying skill and we should treasure him and his talent.
This was the first of four Pride at the Fringe shows during this years Brighton Festival. The Sabai Pavilion was perfect for the event and added to the overall atmosphere of anticipation the evening generated reminding me of those Alternative Miss Brighton Shows in the 90s.
Gay Brighton needs more of these events and these events need the support of gay Brighton. While the show was full but it took far too long to sell the tickets.
There are three more shows to come on each of the next three Sundays.
Sunday 12: Brighton Gay Men’s Chorus reprise their sellout show Douze Points!
Sunday 19: London sensations the Supreme Fabulettes
Sunday 26: Gala Show featuring Jonny Woo’s Gay Bingo and the Charlie Hides TV Show
For more information, CLICK HERE: www.brighton-pride.org/event.php?id=1364381066
To book tickets, CLICK HERE: boxoffice.brightonfringe.org/event.aspx?evId=5209#container