Towards the end of May, me and my University friends went out for someone’s birthday. On the (tipsy) walk back to our house, we walked past a poster for The Lady Boys of Bangkok. With no idea what it was about, my friend Rachel exclaimed “Let’s go!” and was met mainly with laughs. Then, two weeks later, I received an email offering me press tickets to their tour. So guess who ended up getting to go after all…
Going into it, I honestly had no idea what it was about. However, if you hadn’t gathered already, I’m really into theatre, and if you offer me free tickets to a show, there is a 97% chance I’ll take them with no questions asked.
The Lady Boys of Bangkok are a group of 16 Thai national boys, who dress as female performers. On this, their ‘Greatest Showgirls’ tour, they perform a variety of show stopping performances, from current hits from Rhianna, Beyonce and more to more traditional cabaret numbers, to vaious segments of audience participation. The whole thing is performed cabaret style, with the audience able to enjoy traditional Thai food (or burgers) and drinks as they watch.
What I loved about the atmosphere was that the fun started the second you entered the tent. We arrived around half an hour early and expected to just be sitting around, but the waiting area in the tent was beautiful, complete with golden statues, photo opportunities (Cool cars, flashy signs and those photo boards that you stick your heads through), a bar (With slushy cocktails!), a giftshop and authentic Thai food. Therefore, there was time to have a little explore. Once we were escorted to our seats, I became super excited for the performance itself. The whole thing was cabaret style, with the audience sat around round tables, able to eat their hot foods and drinks in peace as they watched the show. Phones were also allowed throughout, which not only meant that I was able to take my own photos, but that it was a far more immersive and involved experience that I am used to at the theatre. Almost like the perfect mix between a sit down show and a concert.
The show began with a show stopping number highlighting all the DRAG performers in their showgirl, feathered outfits. Sitting on a table closest to the stage, I was able to get a pretty close view of the performers, and I cannot deny how beautiful they were. They walked elegantly, they smiled beautifully, and I was sold from the outset. With its selection of contemporary pop music (And some fun throwback songs), the audience was able to sing along with ease, and singing and dancing was actually encouraged, providing for a real feel-good night.
Considering how interactive it is, it is no surprise that it involved many moments of audience participation. Performers frequently delved into the audience, be it just to interact with us, or to find willing participants to go back up on stage with them. Sometimes, this could be as harmless as just going up their to dance, or joining in with some carpool karaoke, and otherwise it was far more scandalous, involving being (consensually) tied to a chair, blindfolded and receiving a lap dance from one of the performers. It was full of laughs, it was full of surprises, and it left everyone feeling like a part of it.
The majority of the team of Lady Boys was made up of boys dressed as women, but there was four male performers that stayed dressed as males and did some male-centred performances (Think YMCA, Bruno Mars and many more.) Though bath acts included the whole cast, the first half definitely centred more on the female performers, and the second half more on the males. Whilst I think I preffered the performances in the half that highlighted the female performers more, I think the show hit its stride with audience ambience in the second act, making it more enjoyable for me personally.
The second act began with a notice, informing the audience that it was, in fact, more than okay to get up and dance as you watched. And the introduction of “carpool karaoke” at the beginning of the second act got the audience singing along to classics like Bon Jovi’s ‘Living on a Prayer’ and Neil Diamond’s ‘Sweet Caroline’. This was probably one of my favourite segments, because it felt like a party – the atmosphere they intended to create.
Playing on their title of ‘The Greatest Showgirls’, they took the finale as an opportunity to pay homage to The Greatest Showman, and as a fan of the movie (And the music in particular), this tickled my heart. They began with a moving rendition of ‘This is Me’, featuring a solo performer who was quickly joined by the entire cast, and then transitioned to a lively performance of ‘Come Alive’, at which point most of the audience were on their feet, clapping and dancing as well.
It was a lovely end to a lovely show, and left many an audience member with smiling faces.
As someone who went in with absolutely no knowledge or idea of what to expect, yes I would. If you like drag, or you just want a fun and different night out with friends, this is a great one for all ages (Above 18). I think this would be the perfect night to get a little tipsy with your friends, sit around eating good food, and singing and dancing along to some contemporary pop songs as you watch some great performers (and maybe even get up on that stage yourself.
Thank you so much to the team at The Lady Boys of Bangkok for the tickets and the fun night!
Have you seen The Lady Boys of Bangkok? Would you want to? let me know in the comments!
Lots of love,
Hey, I'm Jasmine Burke. A girl in her twenties fresh out of Uni that's trying to write in any way that she can. I go under the branch of "lifestyle" but honestly, you can find pretty much anything on here.
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