The drag king comedy group serves up a royally entertaining night that’s as smart as it is funny, says Kat Halstead

BY KAT HALSTEAD

The UK drag scene is thriving and diversifying, and to prove it, the Bareback Kings are slowly manspreading their way to the top with their first ever hour-long show.

Cue the music – Backstreet’s Back to be specific – and meet Brent, Dirk, Gary and Seb (AKA Francesca Reid, Rebecca Schuster, Jules Morrish and Alice Sanders), four lads on a mission to get more woke and, ultimately get more women.

At least one of them will likely ask for your number before the performance even starts… 

But what a performance it is – a hilarious mix of drag, sketch, music and improv, with a fair amount of feminism, exploration of gender and identity, and, perhaps more predictably, hip thrusting thrown in. 

Drawing heavily from their improv roots, the talented quartet get pretty friendly with the audience to pluck inspiration for the act.

Case in point: metrosexual Essex boy Brent Would creating a song on the spot about the worst ever presents audience members received from their partners (from an Amazon pen to a Starbucks gift card – must do better), and the lads taking it in turns to mansplain examples of annoying male behaviour.

It’s impressive stuff. Had we not heard the suggestions with our own ears just moments earlier, it’d be hard to believe that most of the show wasn’t scripted. Yet the pre-prepared sketches are equally sharp – particularly one about the trials of a “16th Century dick pic.” That’s right. 

Performing together since 2017, the chemistry and camaraderie between the kings makes the characters loveable, even as they get things wrong.

When Dirk falls off the wagon in the finale, where the lads sing “woke” versions of the lyrics to Freak Me by Another Level, veering into toxic masculinity, the others call him on it.

If only that happened in the real world… 

Fast-paced and jam-packed, 60 minutes flies by and all we’ve been able to think about since is how we want to get our drag on and be one of the lads too.

For upcoming shows and general LOLs, follow the Kings on Twitter @BarebackKings and Insta @thebarebackkings If you’re down south and experiencing Edinburgh Fringe FOMO check out more Camden Fringe shows at camdenfringe.com 

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One thought on “REVIEW: The Bareback Kings at Camden Fringe”

  1. I saw this show yesterday and loved it. Hilarious, particularly the improv! I’m looking forward to seeing the Bareback Kings ride again.

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