Last week #DRAG took a spring sojourn down to Bournemouth: home to beautiful beaches, sunnier climes, and the brilliantly bawdy Dame Kitty. For the summer season, Bournemouth’s premier queen and her team have put on an all-singing, all dancing version of the blockbuster smash ‘Titanic’ at Rubyz cabaret restaurant. They have rechristened the classic love story ‘Tri-Tantric’, added lots of rude words, and were kind enough to invite us along for to see the results.
Dame Kitty presents: ‘Titanic the Musical’ ****
It’s 7pm on a sun-soaked Saturday in Bournemouth when I make my way over to Rubyz, the seaside town’s famous cabaret restaurant. Nursing a cold glass of Sauvingon I wait alone at the bar and watch the nights’ revellers pile in. Corsets, tulle, glitter and flesh. These girls – and a few guys, are definitely here for a good time.
Clutching bottles of rose, they’re led through the draped doorway into the main room. It’s decorated with Union Jack bunting and a crude Titanic set: the perfect backdrop for the unpolished, seaside panto drag I have been told to expect. To get the crowd warmed up as we enjoy our starters, the first performer takes to the stage. He belts out Nina Simone’s classic ‘Feeling Good’ and gyrates to whoops and squeals of the assembled revellers. “Trust me love, it gets better as you get older, every shag means something,” one woman leans over to tell her younger companion. Tonight’s entertainment is certainly not for the prudish.
The lights go down and Dame Kitty sashays on, swathed in black and silver sequins. There is no understatement here. Within a first few minutes each table has told to “finger” its guest of honour. I almost splutter into my pumpkin and apple soup (which, FYI, is delicious). Potty-mouthed and serpent-tongued, Kitty meets and greets her lively audience, leaving no local region of the East Dorset area untouched by her scathe. Her voice is a mix of affected theatrical grandeur and rough and ready west country bumpkin. Accusations of incest, bestiality, or just of being “well common” are attributed to each group and are met with rowdy cheers. Hens and birthday girls in particular receive a right good dressing down, and within five minutes it’s clear that Kitty, the self-proclaimed “First Lady of Bournemouth” can get away with almost anything.
In the short break the entertainers are back on stage, all strong voices singing the guaranteed crowd-pleasing hits of Amy Winehouse, Olly Murs and Michael Bublé. Fifteen minutes later we’re all back in our seats (save the few ladies whose generous glasses of fizzy pink stuff have got them dancing in the back already) and are eager to be taken aboard the bad ship ‘Tri-Tantric: The Shit of Dreams”.
I won’t spoil the fun and divulge if Kitty does in fact goes down (yes that one was cracked quite a few times), but ‘Tri-Tantric’ didn’t disappoint. From surreal song choices that include, ‘YMCA’ and ‘Star Trekkin’ to Jack Dawson in a Jack Sparrow costume and an ovoid “heart of the ocean” pendant from Claire’s accessories, the show is a gloriously shambolic romp from start to finish. An ensemble cast supplement the four title roles of Rose (played by Kitty), Jack Dawson, Cal, and Molly Brown. Dirty jokes and missed cues have the audience in stitches, and provide the perfect accompaniment to our mains (I had a tasty wild mushroom and slow roast tomato risotto).
One thing that does sink is my heart when I realise that the infamous painting scene is pre-recorded and shown on a projector screen with Kitty’s naughty additions bellowed down a microphone from someone on the balcony. Likewise for the steamy car sequence, which included a Kitty servicing at least ten males and a dog whilst waiting for Jack – earnest, northern, and in a pirate costume to find her.
By the time our dessert (a warm and gooey chocolate brownie) arrives , the whole room has descended into a kind of jubilant pandemonium. Five inch stilettos have been kicked off and the audience spill on to the dance floor to boogie on down to a pumping dance remix of Celine Dion’s ‘My Heart Will Go On’. After thanking her audience Kitty takes her leave to “Slip into something more comfortable”, and leaves the room bopping to disco classics.
“Look love, I went to see Sean Locke a couple of weeks ago at The Lighthouse theatre, and I laughed a hundred times more tonight,” a bleary eyed man informs me outside the loos. “I was a bit nervous about coming here tonight, you know, being a straight man, but it’s f*cking brilliant, I was nearly p*ssing myself.”
Looking around the room at a group doing some kind of impromptu hokey cokey to Donna Summer I had to agree. ‘Tri-Tantric’ at Rubyz: it’s gawdy, it’s raw, it’s rude, and it’s damn good fun.
To book a night aboard ‘Tri-Tantric’ at Rubyz in Bournemouth head to the Rubyz website: http://www.rubyz.co.uk/