Pretty and witty and gay! Gay-friendly shows in the West End
| By London Theatre Direct
More and more people are looking for gay theatre London shows these days. Theatre has by nature an inbuilt gay-appeal anyway - drama, tears, laughter, fabulous finger-snapping music anthems...all can be found on the London stage. With hit high-camp tv shows such as Glee, Smash and RuPaul's Drag Race, album sales going up rather than down when American rnb stars out themselves and more and more postive gay characters in soaps and tv series, pink power is more noticeable than ever. A raft of gay-themed theatre shows are subsequently popping up all over the place in the West End.
Recent London shows packed with drag queen fabulousness include La Cage Aux Folles, the story of a cabaret club owner Georges and his leading drag star and lover, Albin. It is a hilarious and timeless tale of family, unconditional love and learning to be proud of who you are. The show opened in London at the Menier Chocolate Factory in 2008 and was sold out before it even opened. The production then went on to the Playhouse Theatre.
The biggest and most expensive production to grace the West End stage that includes a queen or three is Priscilla, Queen of the Desert which showed at the Palace Theatre from 2009 to 31 December 2011. Based on the 1994 Australian film, it opened with Antipodean hearthrob Jason Donovan as one of the cast throwing on some heels and a blaze of lippy and ran for two years at the Palace Theatre. It has just closed at the end of June on Broadway but is set to tour the US in early 2013, and a new Brazilian production opened in March 2012, being the first Brazilian production to have its songs sung in English.
For an upcoming drag treat, soon to open at the Arts Theatre is the glitziest new show in town, Drag Divas. The production is billed as a unique musical experience filled with sparkle, sass and style. It will be hosted by one of the UK's best known drag divas Titti La Camp along with Mrs Moore and will include performances of all your favourite anthems from artists such as Whitney Houston, Cher, Beyonce, Shirley Bassey, Diana Ross, Liza Minnelli, Amy Winehouse, Kylie Minogue and more. The show will be running for a very limited time from the 9-25th August at the Arts Theatre so be sure to book early to avoid missing out.
For a well-priced, cheeky night out that is full of laughs, Naked Boys Singing has been playing for some time at the Charing Cross Theatre. The show starts at 10pm on Friday and Saturday nights only and is perfectly placed a few doors down from popular gay nightclub Heaven. Seven young men singing and dancing to a score of 16 catchy cabaret songs, both poignant and funny, completely nude. What's not to love? This show has proven to be popular with both groups of women and men alike and is the perfect way to start off your evening before heading out into the night. Currently on a hiatus so that the cast can top up their tans, it returns to the venue from 14th September.
Comedy-drama Torch Song Trilogy has been playing at the Menier Chocolate Factory since May this year and is currently booking until 12th August. Based on three Harvey Fierstein plays that debuted between 1978 and 1981, the amalgamated version opened in 1982 and was also made into a movie in 1988. David Bedella stars as Arnold, a torch song singing Jewish drag queen with a flare for life who faces a number of obstacles and heartache that lead to a disillusionment with love but ultimately ends with hope.
Last but not least we have the upcoming revival of Cabaret, which never stays away from the West End stage for too long. Pop Idol alumni Will Young heads the cast at The Emcee alongside ex-Eastender and Bionic Woman Michelle Ryan as Sally Bowles. The Emcee is the Master Of Ceremonies at The Kit Kat Club, a seedy cabaret venue where Sally performs whilst she gets embroiled in an affair with sexually confused writer Cliff Bradshaw. Set in Berlin in 1931 as the Nazis are rising to power the 1972 movie version won Liza Minnelli a Best Actress Oscar and features the hits Money Makes The World Go Round, Cabaret and Maybe This Time
Of course gay theatre London shows aren't exclusively for a gay audience, and the themes explored, hit songs and flutter of feather boas mean the shows have widespread appeal for anyone looking for a fun night out - so why not let yourself sink into the fabulousness!