The set offers Buffy the Vampire Slayer realness in its eerie but camp design. The entire play takes place in Nathan’s room. BATS’ Random stage becomes a gloomy dungeon-study. A large white pentagram brands the floor, behind it sits a messy desk with dark-magic paraphernalia and discarded Red Bull cans. Minor fumbles in the staged mess don’t detract from the quick, witty dialogue and committed performances on show. A projection shares dank literary memes and other hilarious visual jokes from Nathan’s laptop. The use of AV is clever and has the audience roaring with laughter.
Bi-Ron is dead sexy. Chiseled cheekbones, purple eyeshadow, and a thick brooding brow emphasise his sulking scowl. He slinks across the stage in knee-high boots and a red velvet suit. Smith plays the mad bad boy with awesome arrogance and flamboyant flare. A favourite moment is the always over-the-top diva’s huge disappointment upon about learning of his boring death. I also enjoy when the 200-year-old Lord reveals earnestness in his pause and poetry.
What’s a drag show without lip syncing? Celebrity obsessed Bi-Ron struts to gay club favourites like David Bowie’s ‘Fame,’ and basks in Lucas Neal’s festive lighting display. The music is a little too loud in parts. It was hard to hear Bi-Ron boast his humble beginnings against the triumphant symphony. Cardboard cutouts of Bi-Ron’s contemporaries are danced with on stage. Here, the reveal unfortunately fell flat. Bi-Ron cheekily tears off the lower half of the figure revealing - nothing. I expected to see their paper tuck or embarrassing bloomers. The cutouts don’t quite meet the drama of the glittery paper guitar or Bi-Ron’s headshot-confetti.
Nathan takes us on a trip down memory lane as told by Lord Bi-Ron’s ex-girlfriends. Nathan’s earnest acoustic songs from the female perspective juxtapose Bi-Ron’s fantastical show. The contrast creates a lovely balance between this unlikely friendship. While Smith flirtaciously portrays the Lord’s bi-sexuality, I’m left curious about his male lovers - but then perhaps this doesn’t fit Nathan’s thesis. While we learn about Bi-Ron’s controversial past, Nathan teaches him about the friend-zone and challenges his outdated prejudices.
Overall Mad, Bad & Dangerous is super fun and well paced but the ending left me wanting more. This show won me over and I’m a fan of Lord Bi-Ron - a ‘Bi-Ronicle’ - a term I hereby coin for all super fans. What a wonderful way to spend International Women’s Day, celebrating the underrepresented art of women in drag. It is a high calibre addition to the Fringe Festival and I eagerly await future hauntings.
Lord Bi-Ron: Mad, Bad & Dangerous is showing at BATS until Saturday 12th March, at 8:30pm. To purchase tickets click here, or for information on other shows in Wellington Fringe Festival, visit the NZ Fringe website.