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Drag Queen Stole My Dress at The Butterfly Club

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by Samsara (subscribe)
I am a director, playwright, and theatre critic with a Masters in Writing for Performance. You can check out my my portfolio and musings at
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Stay away from crab holes
Gillian English is back with another of her magnificent repertoire shows, this time at The Butterfly Club. A week ago I told you all about her show Bitter Shrew, and this week I am here to sing her praises once more as she struts the stage with Drag Queen Stole My Dress.

Drag Queen Stole My Dress
Gillian English

You have probably figured out by now that I love the tough, honest, and sharp comedy stylings of this amazing performer. English embodies what it is to be a woman making her way through the world of work and wooing in the modern age. Anything but a shy wallflower, English is wending her way through life on her own terms and her travails will have you in tears - generally with laughter but every so often in outrage or despair.

Bitter Shrew told us about the woman English has become. It was tough and sassy and brooked no condemnation. Drag Queen Stole My Dress is a bit different though. English is younger in this story. She is a girl focussed on being in love and get married, and in her innocence and naivete she epitomises the concept of blind determination.

A once nationally ranked athlete, one of English's greatest despairs is that the wedding dress she bought - off-white (not ecru, or cream) because her grandmother said she was used goods - doesn't fit anymore. Her husband to be no longer fit anymore either and whilst she has thrown out the man, she clings to the dress. It was on sale and a bargain! (The dress, not the man).

Drag Queen Stole My Dress
Gillian English

Raised by a straight speaking family (you have probably guessed that by what her grandma said), and taught how to kill someone and hide the evidence by her dad at a young age (suffice to say Guy Ritchie has it completely wrong in Snatch - and stay away from crab holes...) this Nova Scotian Amazon was the last person in her family to understand just how wrong her man was for her. It takes an eviction notice, unbrushed teeth, and a world class harridan as mother-in-law to be before English wakes up to what the world around her had been seeing for years.

Amidst hilarious casino tales as a busty wench and Betty Boop, thespian truths of sad Russian plays (classical acting is pretending and method acting is...well...annoying), English tells an important story about women losing their identity in desperation to be part of a relationship. Underneath the farce of a performer being the breadwinner of the house is the sad tale of a girl being controlled and manipulated.

One of the greatest mysteries in the world is how strong, confident women get trapped in controlling relationships. English may not answer this question completely, but she certainly embodies the ease with which the trap is set. Luckily she saw the jaws before they sprung and she didn't fall into the crab hole.

Drag Queen Stole My Dress
Gillian English

Drag Queen Stole My Dress is a hilarious show with what I thought was going to be the biggest MacGuffin since Alfred Hitchcock's North By Northwest. Sadly, English didn't leave us hanging...

As funny as this show is though, if you know someone who is in a relationship which is stealing their personality take them along to Drag Queen Stole My Dress. They will get a mighty laugh and they just might also start to see something they have willfully been blind to. You may just be saving their life - and laughing together while you do it!

3.5 Stars

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Why? Help your friend see what a bad relationship looks like
When: 6 - 11 June 2017
Phone: 03 9663 8107
Where: The Butterfly Club, 5 Carson Place, Melbourne
Cost: From $25
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