Review | ‘Life’s a Drag’ is a pleasant evening of entertainment

Life’s a Drag | The Court Hotel | Season Ended | ★ ★ ★  

In this hour long cabaret show Dean Misdale (the artist formerly known as Feminem) reflects on his life over the last year, sharing stories of job seeking, dating and streaming loungeroom performances, regaling the audience with the reality of his life away from the sequins and high heels, the anecdotes punctuated by a variety of musical numbers – which were sung live.

Last year when the coronavirus hit and Perth went into lockdown Misdale, like most people working in the arts, suddenly found his livelihood had disappeared. 2020 saw the popular drag performer take a series of regular jobs from working in a call centre to becoming a school cleaner. Add to that adventures in online dating, and the challenges of performing drag in your loungeroom to a Facebook audience – 2020 was not business as usual.

While this could have been a series of wild tales about life being turned upside down, a fish out water narrative about what happens when your life switches from mirror balls and show times to the harsh reality of 9 to 5, it sometimes came across as Misdale being mildly inconvenienced at having to live a life similar to most of the audience.

The musical performances punctuated the stories, but there were lots of ballads which had the effect of drawing things out, rather than providing a much needed energy injection. The show closed with an upbeat disco classic, if only there had been more of this throughout the performance.

Things picked up for the performer towards the end of the year, he was offered a part in the musical We Will Rock You. While previously he’d performed the role of Killer Queen, this time round Casey Donovan was flown in from the east, and Misdale took over another role in the production. It wasn’t all bad news though, he got to sing opposite Donovan and open Telethon.

Where this show struggled is that Misdale, while charming and affable, is not a great raconteur. The potential for a knockout show was here, but the ingredients were not quite balanced right. There’s so much Misdale could have brought to this production if he’d dug a little deeper, why has he dropped his performing name? No stories about his amazing physical transformation? No outrageous stories that we’ve all heard drag queens tell?

Instead of chat and tunes, we could have had yarns spun, and modern vaudevillian entertainment, but it didn’t rise to the occasion.

 The season for Life’s a Drag has concluded. For tickets and more information on other shows head to

Graeme Watson is an editor at OUTinPerth. He has a background in journalism, creative writing, dance, theatre, radio and film working as a performer, producer and writer. Graeme writes for a variety of publications and has been working as a reviewer since 1997.

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